New Delhi: On March 24, India crossed the dreaded 500-mark for the novel coronavirus cases with the first case being reported from North East. Amid the concerns over increasing cases of COVID-19 on a daily basis, thirty states and Union territories have declared a complete lockdown. On March 24, the country recorded another casualty linked to the highly contagious coronavirus, taking the death toll to 10.
Coronavirus, an infectious disease which can easily transfer from one person to another has taken the whole world by storm. Worldwide over 16,000 people have scummed to the infectious disease that has symptoms ranging from common cold, fever and breathlessness. Moreover, over 3 lakh people around the globe have been reported infected with COVID-19. The World Health Organisation has already declared the novel virus as “Global Pandemic”.
With growing concerns related to coronavirus, NDTV speaks with doctors – Dr Neeraj Nischal, Associate Professor, AIIMS, Dr Maherra Desai, Clinical Psychologist and Dr Hema Divakar, Senior Gynecologist to know about coronavirus and what are some Do’s and Don’ts related to the virus that people should follow.
1. Don’t Rush To A Government Hospital That Is Testing For Coronavirus
With COVID-19 infected patients increasing in India, Hospitals might have a long waiting period and also have a higher chance of you catching the virus while waiting at the hospital for the treatment. Dr Neeraj Nischal explains why it is necessary to stay away from the hospitals at this point of time, he said,
There are very clear cut guidelines on who should get tested and who should not. If you believe you have coronavirus symptoms, you should not land up to the hospital directly. The problem with the current scenario is that the chances of one catching the infection or virus are high at the hospitals as that is the area we are sure to have COVID-19 infected people. Not everyone needs to get tested if you have symptoms like cold, fever along with breathlessness and if you have a travel history or you have come in contact with some infected person, it is then only advised that you should get yourself tested. If you will call the central helpline for coronavirus, experts will guide you the way forward.
2. If You Must Get Tested, Maintain A Healthy Distance From Everyone
Highlighting precautionary measures that need to be taken if one is going to get the test done at the hospitals, Dr Hema Divakar said,
Hospitals are considered the high-risk zone for the spread of coronavirus. Responsible behaviour is required not just from the public but from the healthcare providers as well. It is required for all the hospital staff to wear necessary accessories – like masks and gloves before they treat the patient. This situation should not be taken lightly. For all those people who are out there going for COVID-19 tests at the hospitals, remember to stand apart in the queue, wear a mask, carry sanitiser.
3. Should You or Should You Not Wear A Mask?
With the surge in coronavirus cases in India and the scare of contracting it, one of the common questions everyone is asking today – should they or should they not wear a mask. Explaining the importance of wearing a mask and when one should wear it, Dr Nischal added,
Masks is meant for those who are taking care of infected people. Just by wearing mask you cannot protect yourself from the virus. Chances of you wearing a mask 24×7 is very low because after a few hours you will start feeling suffocated and you will fidget the mask with your hands. In this case, hands are the real culprit, so whatever hygiene that needs to be maintained is in your hands – make sure they are washed thoroughly, make sure you are not touching your face or food without washing your hands. If you have a cold, fever, as a precautionary measure you can wear a mask, but make sure you wear it properly and if the mask has got wet due to cough and sneezing, dispose it off immediately in a proper way.
4. Imposing A Self-Quarantine – How Importance It Is?
Quarantine means separating and restricting the movement of people exposed (or potentially exposed) to a contagious disease. Explaining the importance of self-quarantine for coronavirus, Dr Divakar said,
If you have a travel history or if you have symptoms like cold and fever – at this stage if you decide to self-quarantine, it plays a very important role. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already put elderly, children and pregnant women as a niche vulnerable group of people for COVID-19, so two-weeks isolation for them is also very important if they are suffering from any corona-like symptoms or if they have any family members suffering.
5. Should You Panic Over Common-Symptoms Like Headache Or Cough?
According to experts, if precautionary measures like staying at home, self-isolation and personal hygiene are being taken care of then there is only a small chance of you actually getting the coronavirus. Second, even if you do get it you are very, very, very likely to fight off the virus and to be well and fit in a week or so. Dr Desai adds,
Almost 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases that are being reported are mild and only 20 per cent falls in the category of moderate or severe and require hospitalisation and a mere 5 per cent are critical. So, if you are suffering from cold, cough, headache – you need not worry. But as these symptoms are coronavirus-like, what is needed is extra precaution from one’s side. Maintain hand hygiene, stay at home, maintain a healthy distance (according to the WHO, safe distance maintained should be at least 1 metre (3 feet)) from your family members and you will be good to go.