As the coronavirus pandemic fear gripples everyone, here are some vital questions to clear your doubts regarding COVID19. Originally, published in Times of India, the article answers some critical questions regarding the virus effect on our body.
Question: Are pregnant women safe? What precautions should they take?
Answer : Someone who’s pregnant is at an increased risk of suffering from viral respiratory infections such as the flu and can impact their health severely. This is so because; pregnant people tend to have weaker immunity and this can make them more susceptible to viral infections. Not only this, but pregnant women may also suffer from severe illness, morbidity and mortality compared to others. They have chances of getting other related coronavirus infections (including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)) and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, during pregnancy.
Currently, there is no evidence that suggests that pregnant women are at the risk of miscarriage or even of the virus passing to the developing baby while the mother is pregnant, the research is still going on.
Thus, pregnant women should take precautions in order to keep coronavirus away. Also, avoid traveling, if you are pregnant. Thus, if you are pregnant and you feel sick then consult your doctor as your baby may also be vulnerable to coronavirus.
Some vital preventive measures are:
- Clean your hands often: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Avoid close contact: Do not go to crowded places.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Stay at home if you are sick;
- Cover your mouth while coughing and sneezing or wear a face mask;
- Throw used tissues in the trash bin and wash your hands with soap;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touch surfaces; Do not keep tables, doorknobs, light switches, mobile phone, handles, countertops, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and desks dirty.
- And if possible, practice social distancing and avoid going out.
QUESTION: What should diabetics do during this pandemic?
People with chronic illnesses must take extra precautions for their health and be on the lookout for minor and major symptoms. Diabetic patients must make sure to check blood sugar levels regularly and increase the frequency in case of an active COVID-19 infection since any symptom can possibly flare up blood glucose levels. Diabetic patients suffering from any viral disease must also be attended to at once because the pre-existing condition can make it difficult for the body to beat the infection naturally, if not taken care of in time and manifest into severe complications such as pneumonia and kidney failure (which have been linked to COVID-19 deaths).
Diabetics also fall under the vulnerable population and so they should practice social distancing too. However, since follow-ups with the doctor are crucial in their case, they should try and resort to telemedicine, which is basically a video conferencing facility that many hospitals are offering now.
QUESTION: Is it safe to eat meat and poultry during coronavirus outspread?
No food is actually unsafe, as long as you practice some needed precautions. As far as food is concerned, there is currently no evidence that food can be a route of transmission of the virus or a determinant of any form of infection. So eating non-vegetarian food is perfectly safe. However, we can take some extra precautions and make sure any meat is washed and cooked thoroughly at a high temperature. Good hygienic practices must also be followed before consuming raw fruits and vegetables.
We can also avoid going to slaughterhouses as a precautionary habit for the time being until the infection is controlled fully.”
Consumption of any kind of meat or poultry doesn’t pose any risk. As a common healthcare precaution, all kinds of meat should be thoroughly washed and properly cooked. As long as you ensure that the food passes through necessary quality checks, is washed and cooked thoroughly, you should be guaranteed that what you are eating is absolutely safe for consumption.
QUESTION: I have to go to the hospital twice a week for dialysis. What should I do?
I understand that this is completely unavoidable. And that is the reason I want to urge hospitals to have wider and more open waiting areas. Even during dialysis, beds should be at a safe distance from each other so no two people catch infection. Also, keep sanitizing and washing your hands and do not forget to wear a mask. Moreover, avoid public transport as far as possible.
QUESTION: Ibuprofen vs Paracetamol: Which medicine to take in case you suspect coronavirus symptoms?
A senior doctor from Apollo who didn’t want to be quoted said, “We prefer to give Paracetamol in all viral infections as it is safe for patients.”
Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen and cortisone, are known to be of high risk for those who have contracted illnesses because they tend to diminish the response of the body’s immune system.
Paracetamol is preferred as it is not only a mild medicine but also because of its ability to tone down fever without counter attacking the inflammation.
QUESTION: What should you do if you catch coronavirus infection?
Individuals who have a travel history to countries severely affected by the virus should get themselves tested even if they do not have any symptoms. People who have been in contact with such people and display some symptoms, should be vigilant and get themselves tested. People who have severe and moderate infection must be immediately hospitalized without any delay. People with mild symptoms can be kept at home. But in such cases, people around them must be very careful.
QUESTION: What should I do if someone around me is sick?
We may not have the complete realisation of the infection in India yet. There could be many more cases we don’t even know about. This could be just the tip of the iceberg. And that is the reason worrying is important as it leads to consciousness. The moment you see symptoms in someone, however benign, it is a sign enough for you to stay away from that person. Maintaining a distance of 6 meters from an infected person can safeguard you. So use caution and practice your discretion when you are in contact with a seemingly infected person. Also, stop shaking hands and go back to the traditional ‘Namaste’. It is one of the best ways to prohibit the spread of the virus.
Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that have alcohol content of more than 70 percent and keep a mask for times when you see someone around you coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands frequently and do not put your fingers in your eyes and mouth.
Not only for your own self, you also owe some responsibility to your surroundings. So report if you find someone suspicious of having contracted the infection. Report the case and rush them to the hospital for supportive treatment.
QUESTION: Coronavirus symptoms: How do I know if it is just cold or coronavirus?
Answer: Most coronavirus symptoms are similar to common cold and flu. If you have mild symptoms, we would not recommend testing for coronavirus. If you have low grade fever, cough, it is best to rest and have lots of fluids. This isn’t the first coronavirus. There are 4 coronavirus types that are already in circulation and may cause slight respiratory issues. This is the 7th one and we need to look for patients demonstrating serious symptoms like high grade fever, breathlessness. Influenza and coronavirus have similar symptoms. Right now it is difficult to substantiate it medically. So if you have a runny nose, slight cold and fever, you just need to focus on recovering by taking ample rest and maybe antiviral medicines.
If you are an elderly with other comorbidities, or have a heart issue, are a stroker or have severe respiratory issue, then you have more to worry about because unlike the 1982 pandemic which attacked most young population, this one is impacting more of elderly.”
QUESTION: Do I need to change my diet to stay protected?
Answer: You must think of the nourishment required. Internal nourishment is just as important as external skin/hair care regimes. Consume herbs that are rich in antioxidants or those that have antimicrobial properties that help keep sickness at bay. You can try Amla, which is ideal for boosting immunity as it has more Vitamin C than oranges or lemons! Apart from herbs, you also need to ensure that you have a face mask on, before stepping out. To prevent contamination, following mindful hygiene like carrying a sanitizer or covering your mouth while coughing and sneezing, is crucial. We need to remember, safety needs to be our topmost priority, especially during this flu season.
QUESTION: Apart from maintaining hand hygiene, what else can people do to protect themselves?
It is very important to maintain respiratory hygiene. Whenever you have a cough, don’t cough on your hands or handkerchief, either use a tissue paper or cough on your sleeve. Whoever has fever, cough and cold should maintain a distance of 1 metre or 3 feet from others. And third is maintain your hand hygiene. Moreover, if you are rubbing your eyes continuously, you may be suffering from computer vision syndrome, so use eye drops. If you are picking your nose again and again, you have an allergy and you must get yourself treated for it.
QUESTION: Can drinking alcohol protect people from COVID-19?
It is a big no. Alcohol cannot protect you from any infection. It is being said that alcohol is a sterilizer and it can kill any virus or bacteria in the blood. If that was true, they would be giving alcohol by intra nasal tube in every hospital. This is absolutely wrong. You must use hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol, not drink it!
QUESTION: What should I do if I suspect having caught the virus?
Whenever you have fever, with or without cough, or breathlessness, call your doctor or call the helpline number. They will advise you whether you need to undergo a coronavirus test or not. Specifically, if you have traveled abroad or have come in contact with anybody who has travelled to affected countries such as Iran, Italy, Dubai etc – you may consult a medical professional on phone. They will tell you how to come and where to come for the test. Till then wear a surgical mask and maintain hand hygiene. The government will do your tests, throat swab twice and screening test. If it comes positive, they will send it for a confirmation and if it comes as positive, you will be called a red case. This means you will be isolated for 14 days. Isolation does not mean jail, it means social distance of 3 feet, wearing a mask.
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Source: Times of India