Health

‘Main prevention method is to frequently wash your hands’: Your COVID-19 queries answered

Coronavirus has nothing to do with food and people can eat whatever they want and how much ever they want

Will wearing masks prevent the spreading of COVID-19?

If you are travelling to places where the probability of catching the infection is high, say hospitals, you need to wear masks. If you are using public transport system, where you cannot know if somebody will sneeze or cough, you can use a mask. But the main prevention mechanism is to frequently wash your hands and refrain from shaking other people’s hands or hugging them. Follow cough etiquette when you are travelling or outside.

Dr. P. Kuganantham, founder-chairman, Indian Public Health Foundation, and former Chennai City Health Officer

Should people avoid eating meat-based food to prevent transmission?

Coronavirus has nothing to do with food or pet animals or eating chicken and mutton. People can eat whatever they want and how much ever they want.

Dr. V. Ramasubramanian, consultant, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals

How soon can a vaccine be developed?

Novel viruses happen due to reassortment. They remain for a short period and mutate depending on factors like geography. A vaccine for COVID-19 is likely to be developed in another three to six months because the trials are on at the moment. Like H1N1, a vaccine can be developed for COVID-19 too.

Dr. P. Kuganantham

In the case of a hit-and-run virus like SARS, no vaccine was developed because after six months it did not come back. If COVID-19 too disappears, then there wouldn’t be a need for one.

Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, president, Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania, and former president of Indian Medical Association

Is there a link between a person’s immunity and COVID-19 transmission?

Coronavirus is one of the weakest family of viruses. People affected so far could have been ones with less immunity like children or the elderly. It does not affect everybody. Yes, 100% immuno-compromised people like those with HIV, people with cancer, those who have undergone transplant surgeries or people with diabetes are at risk. Children and elderly are at risk as well. If you take the history of all who died in China or Iran, 90% of them would have been suffering from an illness that compromises their immunity.

Dr. P. Kuganantham

The average age of virus death is 59. The mortality rate for people aged 60 and above after contracting a viral infection is 3.4%; above 70 years is 8% and 80 and above is 15%. Generally, if the immunity is good, you can tolerate any viral infection but there is no specific evidence as it pertains to COVID-19.

Dr. K.K. Aggarwal

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If I have symptoms of COVID-19, should I approach the hospital directly?

You are not supposed to visit a hospital directly. In Delhi, you must call a hospital or doctor. There are designated centres to give your samples. Depending on your symptoms, a call will be made on what needs to be done, and they will come and collect a sample at your home. You cannot go to a hospital and infect others.

Dr. K.K. Aggarwal

There are helpline numbers to contact. At the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) in Chennai, there is a separate outpatient section for coronavirus cases.

You can visit here and consult a doctor and leave samples for testing. No other patient will be permitted to access this entrance. RGGGH is the only place in Chennai where samples will be collected for testing.

Dr. J. Euphrasia Latha

Are there any home remedies?

Home remedies and treatment other than allopathy is not proven science. The best thing is precaution only. You must keep away from a patient who coughs and sneezes. If you are coughing, you need to cover your face with a mask and not spread the droplets around. COVID-19 spreads through droplets.

Dr. J. Euphrasia Latha

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Is India equipped to battle coronavirus?

We have started late. There are two steps in case of a viral outbreak — preparedness and containment. If you cannot contain, you delay and if you cannot delay, you research and mitigate the circumstances. Preparedness phased cannot be considered now when there already is infection. After 43 cases, now we are going through preparedness. It is a bit of a delayed response. You need both preparedness and containment tactics at the moment. At least, in India, community spread has not happened so far.

Dr. K.K. Aggarwal

We must change the focus of our battle to personal hygiene. For example, during the Ebola outbreak in Africa, the governments there were was able to contain not because of drugs and treatment but by improving personal hygiene. They mandated hand-washing frequently at schools and industries, which helped bring down the cases. For COVID-19, the management is only by handling patients with travel history. They need to be isolated for the incubation period and kept under observation.

Dr. P. Kuganantham

(Compiled by Deepa Alexander, Pradeep Kumar and Priyadarshini Paitandy)

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 3:10:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/main-prevention-method-is-to-frequently-wash-your-hands-your-covid-19-queries-answered/article31105010.ece

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