- The whole process of washing hands should take around one minute
- Wash your hands as frequently as possible
- Avoid going to crowded places and wear a mask whenever outside
Ever since the infection was first detected in December 2019, around 142,320 people have been infected globally with COVID-19 with a worldwide death toll of 5,388. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak as a pandemic. Two people have died in India. The second death was of a 68-year-old woman, who had come in contact with her son who had contracted coronavirus after travelling to Switzerland and Italy last month. In the wake of increasing number of coronavirus cases it is advised to not panic but focus on preventive approaches. We spoke to two doctors to seek answers to some common queries and clarify our doubts.
Coronavirus: Common queries answered by our experts
Following are some of the most commonly asked questions about coronavirus answered by our experts:
1. Everyone is talking about washing hands correctly and frequently but what is the correct way to wash? How often and how long?
Washing your hands with soap and water should take around one minute. Use a timer or count one to 10, in each of the following steps:
- Wet hands with water and apply enough soap to cover all surfaces of the hand. Let the water run smoothly to avoid touching the tap later on.
- With soap, rub hands palm to palm, to obtain a good quantity of foam. Rub right palm over the back of left hand with interlaced fingers, and vice versa. Rub again palm to palm, with fingers interlaced.
- Rub the back of your fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked. Repeat this action for each hand. Rub rotationally, left thumb clasped in right palm, and vice versa.
- To clean the tip of the fingers, rub rotationally backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm, and vice versa.
- Rinse hands thoroughly with running water.
- Dry hands thoroughly with a single-use towel. If the tap is not elbow operated, use this towel to turn off the tap, without touching it directly. Your hands are now clean and safe.
When should you clean your hands?
- Before, during and after preparing food.
- Before eating food.
- Before and after caring for a sick person.
- After using the toilet.
- After changing the diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- After touching animal, animal feed, or animal waste.
- After touching garbage.
If you do not have immediate access to soap and water, use alcohol-based sanitiser.
2. What kind of hand sanitiser should one use?
Dr Laxman Jessani: The sanitiser you use must have 70-80% alcohol. This information is available at the back of sanitisers and one can easily decide based on it.
3. Is it important dry your hands before applying any hand sanitiser?
Dr Jessani: When you apply a sanitiser, then it should get evaporated, only then will it be effective. You don't have to wash your hands after using sanitiser. Your hands should be dry when you use a sanitiser.
4. Are gyms to be avoided? Even if they aren't crowded? If so, why? If I do go, what precautions should I take?
Dr Jessani: There is no need to avoid going to the gym. Once you come back, make sure that you take a bath and wash your hands, etc. When inside the gym, make sure that the surface of the machines that you are working out on is clean. No need to clean them with an alcohol-based cleaner or disinfectant every time-this can be done at the beginning of your session and at the end of it.
5. Should I skip a regular visit to the dentist for now?
Dr Jessani: No, you can do all essential visits to your doctors.
6. Should I avoid taking my child to park and playgrounds?
Dr Jessani: No, parks are safe but when you come back, make sure that you clean yourself and your child. Also, it is important to keep yourself dry.
7. Can every coronavirus case lead to death?
Dr Sharad Joshi: No, if someone is suffering it is not necessary that the patient will die. The mortality rate is just 3%. Around 80% of the cases do not show serious illness. The 3 to 4 % chances of death are higher in those already suffering from health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, kidney diseases or any other chronic health condition.
8. Can someone get coronavirus from food?
Dr Joshi: No, it is a huge misconception that Chinese food or non-veg food can transfer coronavirus.
9. Who is at a higher risk of coronavirus?
Dr Joshi: It can affect anyone. It can transfer from an infected person to a healthy individual through droplets. If there is a transfer of virus from an infected person, it can affect anyone.
10. Can coronavirus affect pregnancy?
Dr Joshi: There is no data to support the effect of coronavirus on pregnancy. This virus has been reported in humans for the first time. No specific data or research can support the side effects of coronavirus on pregnancy.
11. Can kids catch coronavirus easily?
Dr Joshi: Coronavirus can affect anyone. Kids are at a higher rate of transmission as they attend more gatherings like school, classes, parties or while playing.
12. Should I wear a mask when outside?
Dr Joshi: The use of hand sanitiser and mask has been advised to prevent coronavirus but there is no need to panic or overuse these. Anyone with symptoms should only wear a mask. Someone with travel history should also wear a mask.
13. Should one get tested if s/he has symptoms but no travel history to places affected with coronavirus?
Dr Joshi: It is important to not panic. Sometimes these can be symptoms of flu or it can be just a cold. 80% of the cases are mild, therefore, one should get tested in only two conditions- someone with a travel history and those who have severe symptoms like breathing problems or diarrhoea.
14. Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?
Dr Joshi: No, antibiotics will not work against the virus as they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work or help prevent the infection.
(Dr Laxman Jessani is Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai)
(Dr Sharad Joshi is Principal Consultant, Pulmonology, Max super speciality hospital, Vaishali)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.