‘Keep hands away from nose, eyes’

Reports about novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection have pressed the panic button in the city, resulting in mass evacuation of masks and hand sanitisers from pharmacy shelves.

Wearing a mask and sterilising hands, nevertheless, cannot guarantee absolute immunity against the infection if one is not wary of where one’s palms are going, caution medical experts.

No, switching from handshake to folded palms too cannot trick the dreaded virus. The seemingly innocuous railings in malls, airports, Metro Rail, or hand supports in buses too could bring the hands in contact with the virus, and the person may get infected when the palm is used to rub eyes or nose. One should cautiously keep one’s hands away till they are sanitised, from nose and eyes, if one has been to any of these places.

Medical experts from the Telangana Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, while seeking to allay needless fears about the virus, cautioned that the aged, those suffering from cardiac problems, cancer patients, those on steroids, kidney patients, and asthmatics are more susceptible and should be more careful.

On account of its sheer size, the virus cannot penetrate even a cloth mask, hence panic buying of N 95 respirators may be stopped. The virus spreads orally through cough and sneeze of the infected person. It stays alive on any surface for 12 hours, and on clothes for nine hours.

While chicken or meat does not spread the infection as long as it is boiled well enough, those handling the meat at shops and slaughter houses should be careful, and wash their hands every now and then, cautioned V.Vishnun Rao, pulmonologist by profession and treasurer of the association.

Good news is that the virus does not survive in temperatures above 27 degrees Centigrade, and those susceptible should expose themselves to the sun for half an hour every day to prevent infection, Dr.Vishnun Rao said.

People already suffering from cold, cough and fever should take utmost precautions not to spread the infection, and if possible, isolate themselves till they are confirmed free of the virus.

Using elbow instead of palm as cover while coughing could go a long way in prevention, and sanitising hands every hour is recommended. Stay away from crowded places, functions, weddings, and reunions with foreign-returned friends, Dr.Vishnun Rao said, recommending working from home.

All private hospitals in the association have resolved to send anybody reporting with symptoms of virus to the designated government referral hospitals, he said.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 10:20:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/keep-hands-away-from-nose-eyes/article30983511.ece

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