New Delhi: Coronavirus, an infectious disease which that can easily transfer from one person to another has taken the world by storm. The World Health Organisation, last week, declared Coronavirus as “Global Pandemic” as it has affected many people. Worldwide, over 7,000 people have died, more than one lakh people are infected. In India, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total number of Coronavirus cases rose to 147 on Tuesday (March 17) with three deaths being reported due to COVID-19 from Karnataka, Delhi and Maharashtra. Amid the concerns related to Coronavirus, which has symptoms similar to flu or common cold like fever, dry cough, NDTV speaks with doctors to know how one can really spot the difference.
Dr K K Aggarwal, Former President, Indian Medical Association says
If one is experiencing cough alone, it is mostly due to pollution. If one has a fever with cold, it is the symptom of an allergy. If there is a fever with cold and cough then it is flu. But, if one is experiencing, fever with cough and breathlessness, that is the symptom for the novel coronavirus and it is advised for those people to seek medical help immediately.
Mr Aggarwal also added, “As a precautionary measure, if people who are who are experiencing fever or cough, should self-isolate themselves or wear a mask; 97 per cent of the situation we all are in can be dealt well.”
Dr. P. Raghu Ram, President of The Association of Surgeons of India adds,
To know, if you have flu, remember, flu starts with a running nose, followed by cough and fever. Very few people infected with coronavirus have reported having a running nose along with a cough. So, if you have flu-like symptoms followed by a travel history, then only you should get yourself screened.
Asking people to stay calm, Dr. Sharad Joshi, Principal Consultant, Pulmonology, Max hospital advises people to take all the necessary precautions.
There is no need to panic. One may experience cold, cough and other flu-like symptoms due to change in weather. Flu symptoms are quite common during this time of the year. Mild flu-like symptoms should not create a panic situation. Unless someone is experiencing breathing problems and other respiratory problems, there is no need to get tested for coronavirus. Whereas, flu-like symptoms with breathing issues need medical attention. If these symptoms last longer than usual, medical advice is necessary for such a situation as well.
On the other hand, Dr Karan Madan, Pulmonologist, AIIMS talks about cold and flu symptoms for cancer surviving or immune-compromised patients and adds,
For such patients, extra care is needed. Even the slightest of the symptoms should be taken care of immediately. These patients should always stay away from people who are experiencing cold, flu or allergies.
Coronavirus Outbreak: What Precautions Should Be Taken
According to the World Health Organisation preventive guidelines, people should wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Why it is important? WHO says, washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also issued an advisory for social distancing, which is a non-pharmaceutical infection prevention and control intervention to avoid or decrease contact between those who are infected and those who are not. This helps in stopping or slowing down the rate and extent of disease transmission in a community and eventually leads to a decrease in spread, morbidity and mortality due to the disease.
WHO says, maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. As, when someone coughs or sneezes they spray (not the right word) small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.