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Understanding Coronavirus Pandemic wreaking havoc worldwide

Coronavirus Pandemic

What is CoronaVirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS and now coronavirus.

Then what is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus.

What are the stages for transmissionof Corona Infection?

1

What are the symptoms of this virus?

The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness, and dry cough, though, some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. The symptoms are usually mild and they gradually rise.

How are they different from flu or cold?

2

How does it spread?

CoronaVirus is spread through person to person through droplets from nose or mouth which are spread when the infected person sneezes or coughs. These droplets land on the surface around the person like a table, chair, pen, book, mobile, laptop, etc. If another person touches these surfaces and then touches his/her mouth, nose eyes, the infection gets transferred into the body.

Do any effective in treating this virus?

Antibiotic medicine, in general, treats infections caused by only bacteria and not Virus. Hence. Taking an antibiotic will not help much in treating infection, but will be helpful for body ache, fever.

Who is at more risk of this virus?

People with low immunity level are more at risks like senior citizens and children. Also, people who have a medical history like diabetes, liver problem, heart problem or people who recently had any surgeries etc are more prone to catch the infection.

Is there any vaccine available?

As of now, there are no vaccines are available

When can we expect the antiviral drug or vaccine against corona?

Research is still going on and it is difficult to define a specific period by when the drug or vaccine will be available in the market.

Can this coronavirus spread through the air?

As per the studies, it is surface-based virus and not air.

Should I wear a mask? Who should wear the mask?

Mask should be worn by people who have symptoms of cold, cough, fever etc so that they do not infect other people. And people who are taking care of patients need to wear a mask.

Healthy people do not need to wear a mask.

Which type of mask should be used?

It is not necessary to use only N95 masks. A triple-layer surgical mask is good enough to be used. But these are a single-use mask, one needs to discard the mask if its gets wet, damp etc.

How long does the virus last? What is the incubation period for this virus?

The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. The common range is from 1-14 days,

Can I catch this virus from pets or animals?

Though Virus family is common in animals. SARS was from civet cats while, MERS was associated with Camels but, as of now there is no study to prove that coronavirus is transferred from animals. Neither there is any study to prove that humans can get infected by animals or pets.

COMMON TERMINOLOGY

What is Outbreak, Epidemic and Pandemic?

Outbreak – Is a condition where the disease spread is higher than the prescribed limit

Epidemic -An outbreak of disease that attacks many peoples at about the same time and may spread through one or several communities.

Pandemic- When an epidemic spreads throughout the world. Infectious diseases: Diseases that you can catch. They are communicable.

What is Respiratory Etiquette?

Respiratory etiquette are respiratory hygiene which one should follow while coughing or sneezing

• Cover nose/mouth with a tissue coughing or sneezing.
• When coughing, use a mask.
• Use disposable tissues and discard after use.
• Use hand hygiene after having contact with respiratory secretions.

What is the meaning of quarantine?

Quarantine is a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to the infectious or contagious disease are placed.

What is social distancing? Does that mean we should not meet our friends?

Social distancing does not mean that you should not meet anyone. But you should maintain a safe distance with the people you meet. You should avoid social gathering and crowded places.

STATISTICS

How many cases have been detected to date in India?

Till today, around 115 cases have been confirmed. The case may increase in the upcoming weeks. The only thing we have to do is to take preventive measures.

What is mortality or fatality rate in different age groups?

3

Is Corona Virus dangerous than other viruses of the family-like SARS or MERS?

Both SARS and MERS had higher mortality rate i.e. 8-10% and 34% respectively. While coronavirus is at 4% approx.

The virus is overall dangerous as we currently do not have any antiviral drug or vaccine available but is not more dangerous than SARS or MERS.

CONCERNS

Is it safe to receive courier from a foreign land where the virus is spread?

Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.

Does coronavirus be transmitted in hot and humid areas?

Though usually,Virus does not survive in a hot and humid climate there is no evidence that Corona cannot be transmitted in this weather

How effective are a thermal scanner (used t airports) to detect coronavirus?

Thermal scanners can help in detecting fever, which is a symptom of coronavirus. However, it cannot detect infected people.

PREVENTION AND PROTECTION

How can I protect myself from getting infected?

The easiest way to protect yourself is by maintaining proper hygiene.

1. Wash your hands regularly with soap for atleast 20 mins. You can sing Happy Birthday song 2 times to note the time.
2. Stay away from crowded places like malls, markets etc
3. Use sanitizers if water not available
4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
5. Maintain a safe distance between two people
6. Stay away from an infected person
7. Avoid public transport
8. Go out only if required, otherwise stay indoors

These hygiene habits should be followed every time to prevent any kind of infection

Can eating garlic help in preventing coronavirus?

Eating garlic itself is a healthy food which contains antimicrobial properties, and one should consume foods like garlic, ginger, turmeric etc. however, currently there is no study to support that it can cure covid 19.

Does exercise/walking help in preventing Corona Virus?

Doing an exercise like walking or mild physical activity is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a strong immune system. Hence, you need to stay physically active.

Should I be worried about COVID -19?

As long as you are taking precautions, there is no reason to get worried.

WHAT & HOWs

What to do in case if someone in your family gets infected?

If you suspect someone or family member infected, you should immediately call on the helpline numbers provided by the government. And you should isolate the infected person immediately so that it doesn’t spread.

When should one consult the doctor?

One should consult the doctor if the persons have symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, cold, cough etc. It could be symptoms of flu or any other infection which needs medical attention.

Are all medical practitioner equipped to identify corona virus-infected people?

There are prescribed hospitals and labs where tests are performed and are fully equipped to handle infected people.

How are doctors and hospital staff protecting themselves from getting infected as they are seeing, touching, taking care of 100’s of patients daily?

Doctors and healthcare works are advised to follow strict guidelines for using complete protective gear, such as bodysuit, gloves, goggles, masks. Also, treating all blood and body fluids as though they are infectious. Handling and disposing of needles and sharp instruments correctly

When should one go test for coronavirus?

The test should be done immediately when one suspects to be infected by the virus.

What test is done for corona diagnosis?

The most common diagnostic tests performed under COVID-19 is “PCRtests” that uses swabbed samples from a patient’s nose and throat.

When/How soon can we get reports?

Reports are available within 8-10 hours after collecting the sample.

HELPLINE

Which are the hospitals/ labs where these tests can be done?

4

What is health-line no’s? How can they be helpful?

5

(Disclaimer: Writer is Dr D K Gupta, Chairman, Felix Hospital. Views expressed are a personal opinion.)

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