The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 virus led to immense pressure falling upon healthcare workers. While the world went under a lockdown it was healthcare workers who battled on the frontlines against this raging pandemic. Medical professionals have had to gear up and work tirelessly amid the increasing number of casualties caused by the virus. With two waves of the virus already affecting humanity, workers in the healthcare industry have had a tough time dealing with the virus both physically and mentally.
The virus has impacted the wellness of healthcare workers adversely. The stress of endless shifts or hours of toiling away to ensure that hospitalized patients can be returned home to their families affected brave hearts in the field of medicine in more ways than one endangering both their physical and emotional wellbeing. This article takes a look into the various ways in which the pandemic has impacted the lives of the people who have been working and sacrificing selflessly for the public.
Higher risk of getting infected
Healthcare workers have had to constantly stay in contact with individuals who were infected by the virus. The WHO stated in a report that 1 in 10 healthcare professionals were affected by the virus in some countries. Lack of proper protective kits, constant exposure to the virus and delayed recognition of the symptoms of the virus have led to an increasing number of healthcare workers being affected. The first few months of the pandemic took the most toll on healthcare workers as there were no vaccines and the number of patients was rising uncontrollably. The families of medical workers were also at higher risk of getting infected, something which could not be helped. Although adequate measures were taken by medical professionals, they were still at the highest risk of getting infected.
Damage to skin
An underrated impact of COVID-19 on medical professionals is the damage to their skin caused by long hours of wearing protective kits. With several layers of protective kits worn by a medical professional for long hours even during the hot summer days and humid monsoons, the skin takes a heavy toll as it cannot breathe properly and the chances of skin infections and rashes increase. A study found that around 97% of healthcare professionals suffered skin related problems due to the protective kits. Continuous use of the protective kit (for more than 6 hours a day) over a period of months caused this problem.
Long work hours without adequate rest took a toll on the health of medical professionals. The sudden rise in the number of patients posed a tremendous load on medical workers on the frontline ranging from doctors and nurses to hospital staff, which meant that the ones who were working had to put in extra shifts to care for patients. All medical professionals experienced burnout and extreme fatigue which impacted their health severely. Working tirelessly for several hours in COVID hospital also made it difficult for some doctors to have their meals or even water on time. Overexertion, insufficient sleep, dehydration and mismanaged meals altogether had a detrimental effect on their health
One of the adverse impacts of the pandemic on healthcare workers was a deterioration of their mental wellbeing. The mental well-being of healthcare professionals took a massive toll with the added work pressure and morbid conditions surrounding them. A study showed that out of the 230 healthcare workers surveyed, 23.04% were facing psychological problems. The psychological problems faced by medical professionals due to the pandemic are severe anxiety, stress disorder, depression and insomnia.
Mental health depreciation is an impact seen across medical professionals across the world. Fear of being infected and transmitting the infection to their families led them to stay away or be isolated from family for long. Seeing fellow workers succumb to COVID infection has also been identified as a reason for fear, depression and stress among healthcare workers. The extra burden of work, lack of sleep and the surrounding macabre conditions psychologically impacted healthcare workers.
Medical workers faced the brunt of those whose family members were suffering from COVID-19. The isolation of patients and the rapid death of many caused outrage among people. Medical professionals often faced ill-treatment, harassment and harsh words from the family members of those who were affected by the virus. In certain parts of the world, healthcare workers were being avoided at their residences and even ousted since they were high-risk individuals who could spread the virus. The harassment faced by medical workers subsided with the introduction of the vaccine and ease in conditions of the lockdown.
COVID-19 had a major impact on the world around us and medical professionals at the forefront of this pandemic faced severe issues too. I have heartfelt gratitude to all the healthcare workers who lost their lives fighting this battle. The mental health impact is one of the most severe and long-lasting impacts felt by healthcare workers. The stress and feeling of helplessness surrounding these workers have had a deep impact on their physical and mental wellbeing. Care of the caregivers is something that should be taken into account. The introduction of the vaccine has made things look better for medical workers and all the people at large Now everyone is hoping for and looking forward to a happier, healthier and COVID-free world.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.