HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Dr. Syed Mustafa, Director of Critical Care and Pulmonary at CHI St. Vincent, has seen the COVID war up close.
He sees it every day -- the conditions that lead to critical care and tragedy.
"Across the board, it's well established if you have an underlying respiratory illness such as COPD, chronic interspatial lung disease, asthma, if you're obese..." Dr. Mustafa explained.
And those are issues of the lungs. There are others.
"If you have underlying cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, things like that," he added.
Here are Dr. Mustafa's four horsemen that prevent the apocalypse:
- Wear the mask
- Social distancing
- Good, habitual personal hygiene
- Get vaccinated
"You must get vaccinated," Dr. Mustafa said.
Now as for the issue of prolonged mask wearing for people with asthma or environmental issues...
"If you keep your mask clean and don't allow particulate matter to accumulate by changing it frequently, then I think that should mitigate that problem," he said.
The doctor who has seen the worst, has simple and direct commands for us all.
"If you're smoking, quit smoking. If you vape, stop vaping. If you're obese, lose weight. If you don't exercise, start exercising," he said.
Spoken like a doctor who is sick of the sickness. Aren't we all?
After the 558 days that COVID-19 has been with us, Dr. Mustafa's advice is very familiar.
But the numbers we're seeing would indicate we can't hear it enough.