Top cop Shikha Goel takes COVID-19 head on

Deccan Chronicle.  | Swati Sharma

Lifestyle, Health and Wellbeing

The IPS officer gives a first-hand account of the virus experience

Shikha Goel, Addl. CP, Crimes, Hyderabad

Contracting the coronavirus can lead to social stigma, and symptoms can persist for weeks to months. Sharing her experience is the best way she can help, feels Shikha Goel, Addl. CP, Crimes, Hyderabad.

“I took all precautions but I got COVID-19. Since the lockdown, the police department has been in the frontline, along with medical and GHMC staff. From enforcing the lockdown to  handling migrants’ issues and later see that there are proper food arrangements for them. We were moving around supervising all the things in coordination with other departments. Our exposure is very high and while managing protests we are in physical contact with people. Despite taking precautions we can still get the disease. But that doesn’t take away
the need for taking precautions. Everybody has to take precautions,” underlines Shikha.  

“I did not get have any symptoms. People in our department undertook tests as one of our colleagues had got the infection. I am in home isolation now,” she says.

While stressing the importance of keeping track of the infection, Shikha highlights the fact that “It’s important that we don’t make a demon out of it and get scared. The most important thing is to remain positive in this situation,” she stresses.

It is very important to keep your mind occupied. “I’m carrying on with my duties from home. Also, I catch up with friends and family by video chats. Since children are not allowed to meet us, these video calls also keep their anxiety levels low,” she says.

“The mind has a healing power which is essential. The department is motivating and talking to people and making them feel good instead of feeling low,” she adds.

Shikha says immunity boosters and prophylactic medication are supplied by the department. Medical attention is given to people who are in need of it. “We speak to people who are infected. In my case, it is the same — my seniors talk to me on a daily basis to enquire about my health, which is comforting,” she says.

After the diagnosis

After testing positive, she has been given immunity booters and vitamins. “I have also been given a mild dose of antibiotics,” Shikha adds

She does steam inhalation twice a day, gargles with salt water, takes a healthy diet, does breathing exercises and yoga.

The home remedy of kadha (Tulsi leaves, turmeric, black pepper and ginger boiled together in water) is recommended. “It doesn’t harm you, and I am taking it because it is something that you take during normal flu. You can treat it as a normal flu,” she adds.

It’s natural to feel a little anxious when the test turn out positive.  But one has to remain strong, says Shikha.

“Remember, more than 90 per cent of people don’t even have any symptoms. Some get mild symptoms like me, but it’s just like normal flu which most of us have experienced numerous times in our lives. Only a very small percentage need medical attention / hospitalisation — usually those with serious comorbidities,” she points out.

Going forward

I believe we need to learn to live with the virus. Building immunity is key at the moment, till a vaccine is available.

Word of caution

Don’t start imagining things or do things which will unnecessarily play on your mind. I did not Google the disease. I just took the right precautions. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms. Be aware of what is happening and don’t get sacred.

The IPS officer is not certain how or from whom she contracted the virus, but as a bottom line, she urges everyone to practice social distancing and be mentally strong.