New Delhi: On Tuesday (March 17), a 64-year-old man died in Mumbai due to Coronavirus, taking the number of virus-linked deaths in the country to three. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total number of infected people reached 126 on Tuesday. Amid the growing concerns related to COVID-19, which has been termed as the Global Pandemic by the World Health Organisation last week, NDTV speaks to Dr K K Aggarwal, Former President, Indian Medical Association on queries related to Coronavirus and what one should really be doing at this crucial time.
Q1: Since this is an unknown factor happening in our country, what should a common man do?
Dr K K Aggarwal: If India has mass clusters, India also has the capacity to follow precautions and in this case, there is only one single important step we all need to take – if you are having a fever and cough, just wear a mask. Social distancing is only for people who are having a fever and cough, if all of us become conscious, we will be able to manage this virus and situation.
Q2. What are the symptoms for Coronavirus?
Dr K K Aggarwal: Coronavirus has flu-like symptoms and it is very important for each one of us to distinguish this novel virus from general cold, flu and allergies. If you have a simple cough – it is due to pollution. If you have a fever with cold, it is an allergy. If you have a fever with cold and cough then it is flu. But, if you are experiencing, fever with cough and breathlessness, then it is corona-like symptoms. As the virus spreads very easily, if people who have fever or cough, if they self-isolate themselves or wear a mask, 97 per cent of this situation can be cured.
Q3. Can taking ayurvedic medicine like gomutra cure Coronavirus?
Dr K K Aggarwal: Whenever we go through any treatment, it should be time-tested and evidence-based. At this moment, the drug controller general of India has approved a few drugs that are used for HIV. The government has also said that they are giving anti-flu medicines in some cases of Coronavirus. Chloroquine is given and decided by doctors on an individual basis or cases. Regarding all the other therapies as on today, such as Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, we have evidence, from all over the world that these medicines are effective.
We cannot recommend general public on taking gomutra as there is no such evidence. Whenever there is an epidemic or pandemic, government standard protocol should be followed across the country. Moreover, in general, all patients who are at high risk such as elderly should take flu shots or pneumonia shots. As if by chance they develop corona, their immunity will become low as a result if they suffer from pneumonia during that period they won’t be able to take the load and therefore these shots are recommended.
Q4. Should outside country travel be avoided or can one take the risk as a virus can be contaminated by travelling for work?
Dr K K Aggarwal: No, there is a difference in the risk. For example, air travel, your first risk is immigration where there are thousands of passengers. Then when you go on a plane, the risk is lower because of laminations and screenings. Take, for example, UAE, which in itself is a large country and they have only 60 cases but people coming from Dubai to India are developing the virus. So, are they developing in the country or at the airports? I feel airports are much riskier or dangerous than the country, as, at the airport, you get travellers and visitors from across the globe, so the risk is much high. Now, if you take a metro for work, you do carry a risk, but you are in it for 30 minutes or less, so the chances are much less. Precautions while travelling like wearing a mask and washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitisers should always be taken when you are using public transport.
Q5. Are there any immunity boosters that you will recommend?
Dr K K Aggarwal: To fight any infection, everyone should eat combinations of seven colours and a healthy diet. It plays an important role in fighting any kind of diseases and building on an immunity.
Coronavirus or COVID-19 that originated late last year in a food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan has now spread to 143 nations, according to the World Health Organiszation. Worldwide, over 5,000 have died, more than one lakh are infected. Across the globe, as precautionary measures, borders have been closed, restricting travel. Many countries have announced a lockdown, banning gatherings, shutting schools, colleges to name a few.
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.