The coronavirus COVID-19 has gripped the world, leaving thousands affected. While we all need to be vigilant, there’s also much we can do to protect ourselves. Here are answers to some pressing questions to help you stay safe.
1. How do I prevent a coronavirus infection?
The best scenario is where you or those around you don’t catch this coronavirus at all. These 9 simple precautions recommended by the World Health Organization are also the most effective.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, scrubbing thoroughly.
- Use an alcohol-based hand rub if you don’t have access to soap and water.
- Keep 3 feet (1 meter) distance from anyone sneezing or coughing. This is known as social distancing.
- Avoid touching your face, so you don’t transmit germs from your hands into your body.
- Cough and sneeze into bent elbow/tissues only, not into the open or even into your hand.
- Dispose of used tissues immediately.
- Stay home if you are unwell, even if you don’t think you have the virus or have very mild symptoms.
- Get medical help if you have a fever, cough, or breathing difficulties.
- Keep an eye on local and national advisories, including quarantine and treatment arrangements in your area and the latest WHO travel advice. Check here for updates in India.
Wearing a face mask isn’t required unless you have symptoms yourself or are interacting with someone with COVID-19. Simply wearing a mask won’t help unless you also follow other precautions like washing your hands regularly.
2. What symptoms should I look out for?
The coronavirus symptoms aren’t too different from those of flu. However, take these symptoms seriously, particularly if you’ve recently traveled to or met people who’ve been in countries where the virus originated or has been spreading rapidly.
Symptoms for the infection may not appear immediately. They can crop up anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
3. What happens if I catch the coronavirus?
In case you do get infected or have respiratory symptoms, don’t panic. Most people who get the virus recover in a few days without any complications.
If you do have pre-existing health problems like high blood pressure, heart issues, or diabetes, have a compromised immune system, or are elderly, you may need extra care and immediate medical attention to prevent any complications.
4. How do I treat the coronavirus?
While there’s no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19, research into this is ongoing. Simply treat the symptoms of fever and cold/cough as you would with a bout of flu:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Ensure lots of fluid intake.
- Have cough medication to ease the coughing.
- Take pain relievers as needed.
If your symptoms are severe, you may need hospitalization and care that helps support vital organ function.
5. What can I do to prevent the infection from spreading?
If you’ve been exposed to the virus, take some precautions alongside your own treatment.
- If you are mildly ill, isolate yourself at home, stepping out only for medical treatment.
- Inform your doctor in advance before your visit so they can take precautions.
- When traveling to the doctor/hospital, avoid public transport.
- Do not go to the office or public places.
- Use a separate room/bathroom for the duration of the infection and for a few weeks after.
- Use a facemask when others are present. Ensure everyone washes hands well before and after this interaction.
- Follow prevention measures like social distancing, disposal of tissues, frequent hand washing, and sanitization even after you are infected.
- Do not share utensils, linen, books, gadgets with your family.
- Avoid contact with your pets until you are well.
- Sanitize high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, taps, and countertops with a cleaning spray at least once a day.
You may need to stay isolated until the doctor confirms it’s safe, even when you don’t have visible symptoms.
With a little extra care and caution, you should be able to avoid the COVID-19 or overcome an infection if it does strike. Stay safe, folks.