What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new recently discovered
novel Corona Virus.
How does it transmit?
- When a person suffering from this disease sneezes or coughs, a lot of droplets spread in the air or fall on the ground and nearby surfaces.
- If another person is nearby and inhales the droplets or touches these surfaces and then touches his face, eyes or mouth, he can get the infection.
- The chances are more if one is within a distance of less than 1 meter from the infected person.
What happens to a person who develops the disease?
- Majority of the people (80%) will require no treatment as such and will recover on their own.
- A small proportion (<20%) may need hospitalization.
- A very small proportion (mainly with underlying chronic illness) may need admission in intensive care unit (ICU).
What is the age group in which this disease spreads? Does it occur in children as well?
- This disease is known to occur in all age groups.
- It can spread to children as well through the other person suffering from the disease in the household.
- The infection is generally mild in children.
- Older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) are at a high risk to develop serious illness.
How long does the Corona Virus survive over the surfaces or objects?
- It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other Corona Viruses.
- Studies suggest that Corona Viruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.
- This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).
- If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others.
- Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
What are the common symptoms?
The symptoms include:
- Fever, Sore throat, Cough and Shortness of breath.
- These are similar to the symptoms of any viral infection like common cold, influenza etc.
Whom should I consult?
You should consult your family physician if you are having clinical symptoms of a respiratory infection plus any of the following:
- Travel history to a Corona Virus-affected area.
- Close contact with a person infected with Corona Virus.
Is there any treatment for Corona Virus Infection?
- As on date there is no specific treatment for Corona Virus infection.
- Treatment for Corona Virus infection consists of symptomatic treatment.
- Since it is a viral infection, so in more than 80% of the cases it recovers within few days.
- A small proportion may need admission in hospital/ICU if they are having symptoms of severe disease.
Are there any specific medications available to treat Corona Virus infection?
- No, as of now there is no specific anti-viral medication available to treat the symptoms of the infection however majority of the people recover without any problem just like in any other viral illness.
- Some drugs which have been used for other Corona Virus infections are being tried in very sick patients.
How can I protect myself and my family members?
You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water after coming from outside or after visiting a patient with Corona Virus infection.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, seek medical attention.
Who should wear mask?
Persons having no symptoms are not to use mask. Medical masks should not be used by healthy persons who are not having any symptoms because it creates a false sense of security that can lead to neglecting other essential measures such as washing of hands.
In such situation, more effective steps are:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.An alcohol based hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol must beused for 20 seconds. If hands are dirty or soiled, do not use alcohol based hand sanitizer, but wash hands preferably with soap and water.
- While coughing or sneezing cover nose and mouth withhandkerchief, paper tissue. If handkerchief or tissue paper isnot available, cough into the flexed elbow. Dispose off tissueimmediately after use and wash hands.
- Refrain from touching face, mouth, nose and eyes.
- Stay at least a meter away from those coughing or sneezing.
- Monitor your body temperature.
When and who should use medical
masks (apart from health care worker)?
- When a person develops cough or fever. Use of medical three layer masks when ill, will prevent your infection from spreading to others. However, you also need to wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading infection to others.
- While visiting a healthcare facility.
- When you are caring for an ill person.
- Close family contacts of such suspect/confirmed cases undergoing home care should also use triple layer medical mask.
What is the role of hand sanitizers?
- Hand sanitizers are to be used when you are caring for the patients infected with Corona Virus.
- In general, washing hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds is the recommended option.
- If hands are dirty or soiled then do not use alcohol based hand sanitizer, but wash hands preferably with soap and water.
Is there any role of specific
foods/drinks in the treatment of
Corona Virus infection?
There is no specific recommendation on this however one can continue to
take his/her regular diet which includes fruits, vegetables etc. to stay healthy.
Is there any vaccine available
for the treatment of Corona
- As of now, there is no vaccine available for the treatment of Covid-19 infection.
How can I help in containing
- One can help by following good personal hygiene, handwashing and cough etiquettes.
- One can also avoid/restrict unnecessary travel, participation in public gatherings and can ensure a reasonable social distancing.
- This can contribute greatly in breaking the chain of active transmission.