- Take social distances and self isolation seriously
- Use face masks with caution
- Avoid going to crowded places to prevent further spread of coronavirus
Coronavirus tips: The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus has now risen to 169, said the Health Ministry as reported by PTI. This number includes the three deaths that have so far been reported in India. Shutdowns of schools, malls, gyms, cinema halls, etc have been implemented. Many companies have allowed work from home to their employees. Right now, people should avoid going to public places and staying indoors as much as possible in order to prevent community spread of the virus.
India is currently at stage 2 of coronavirus outbreak. Stage two occurs when local transmission from infected persons occur. The virus affects relatives or acquaintances of those who travelled abroad. In case of local transmission, fewer people are affected.
In order to successfully curb the coronavirus from spreading further, it is important for people to not panic and get their facts right about coronavirus, its exact symptoms and the right prevention tips.
We speak to Dr P. Raghu Ram, President of The Association of Surgeons of India, to give a few no-panic guidelines for coronavirus.
Coronavirus tips: No panic-guidelines for coronavirus
Dr P. Raghu Ram says, "We must be alert instead of panicking in the wake of coronavirus spread in the country. Each of us must be responsible individually to avoid contact with others."
1. Social distancing/ self-isolation must be taken seriously
Social distancing must be taken seriously as it will significantly help in preventing community spread of coronavirus. "We do not have the capacity to test people on a large scale. So a lot of people are undiagnosed because of lack of sufficient testing kits. This means that we don't know what is the prevalence of coronavirus in the community," Dr Ram explains.
This means that the number of cases reported and the actual number of cases is going to be different. Therefore, social distancing is very important. "Majority of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic. 80% of the infected people experience only mild symptoms. We have to presume that people with whom we may come in contact might be infected," he adds.
2. Follow personal hygiene guidelines for coronavirus prevention carefully
Frequent washing of hands with soap and water must be done several times in a day. Cover your mouth with your elbow or tissue whenever coughing and sneezing. If you are using tissue, then it should be properly discarded. Also, people should consciously make the effort of not touching their face, nose and eyes.
3. Do not ignore symptoms of dry cough, fever and breathlessness
People who have flu-like symptoms need not panic, Dr Ram recommends. "Majority of the times the symptoms caused by coronavirus infection are mild, especially for the first eight days. Self-quarantine first instead of rushing to the hospital. If the symptoms get worse, which usually happens after the eighth day, then go for testing," Dr Ram says. When coronavirus symptoms worsen, it may lead to very high fever or pneumonia-like symptoms.
4. Do not panic with symptoms like sore throat or running nose
Dr Ram says that immediately running to the hospital as soon as you get symptoms like running nose or sore throat, will not serve any purpose. It is important to understand that these symptoms can be caused by many other factors. "We have limited number of kits to test coronavirus currently in the country. If everyone with cough and cold report to COVID-19 helpline, we would be overwhelmed and may not be able test those who might actually be infected with it," he tells DoctorNDTV.
5. Avoid going to crowded places
By now, we are all aware of how important it is to avoid going to gatherings at the moment. Places like gym, malls, cinema halls, markets must be avoided. "Avoid travelling unless it is absolutely essential," says Dr Ram.
6. Be careful with face masks
Face masks must be used only when one is likely to come in close contact with someone who is infected. Face masks do reduce the chance of infection being passed on. "If you have been experiencing symptoms or have been tested positive for COVID-19, then wearing masks will protect others. At the same time, it is important to know that masks are very crucial for health care workers who are looking after coronavirus patients. We must not panic and wear mask only when essential. There is no scientific evidence to support that face masks can help in preventing an infection," Dr Ram asserts.
In fact, taking off a mask and wearing it again makes one touch face multiple times in a day. "Stocking up face masks without accurate knowledge of coronavirus infection can be dangerous for the country. Masks cannot help in preventing general public from catching coronavirus."
7. It is not yet necessary to stock up groceries
No need to panic and create a stock of groceries. Appropriate measures are being taken by authorities to curb spread of this infection. "Having said that, we must also not be complacent. The next two to three weeks are very important for us. It is important that we all work together to contain the outbreak," Dr Ram says.
(Dr P. Raghu Ram is President of The Association of Surgeons of India)
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.