Don't Panic: You Can Beat The Coronavirus

The virus has reached pandemic proportions, but simple hygiene and food safety practices can defeat it

Naorem Anuja Updated: Mar 4, 2020 15:28:46 IST
Don't Panic: You Can Beat The Coronavirus Image: slavoljubovski/Flickr

India has seen a sharp rise in cases of coronavirus, with the total number of people infected going up to 28. Union minister for health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan has said that a majority of those confirmed with the virus are tourists from Italy.

But the Indian government is advising precaution—even Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he wouldn’t hold any ‘Holi Milan’ to celebrate the festival, in light of the advice to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 30, 2020, COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, has affected more than 90,000 people and has claimed more than 3000 lives ever since it was first detected in China, late last year. The novel coronavirus—now named SARS-CoV-2—is a new strain from a family of viruses which includes the one which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SarsSARS), and it is a strain that has not been previously detected in humans. With no cure or vaccine in sight, prevention stands as the best cure for COVID-19.

There is no need to panic, say health experts. Here are the everyday hygiene and food habits to keep in mind and ensure you keep the virus at bay:

  1. Wash your hands frequently, using soap and running water. If soap and water aren’t easily accessible, frequently clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.
  2. To prevent yourself from falling ill, ensure that you wash your hands after coughing and sneezing, after providing care for the sick, before handling food and after contact with animals or animal waste.
  3. Avoid close contact with people running a fever or with a persistent cough. If you are sneezing or coughing, ensure that you cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or a flexed elbow. Make sure you get rid of the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
  4. Seek immediate medical care if you catch a cold or fever, or have trouble breathing. Be sure to share your travel history with your health care provider. Also avoid interaction with those travelling from affected areas.
  5. Avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals, if you are visiting markets in novel coronavirus–affected areas.
  6. Strictly avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products. Ensure stringent food safety practices while handling raw meat or other animal products such as dairy, to prevent cross-contamination with uncooked food. Avoid using the same knives and chopping boards for raw and cooked foods.
  7. If you have cold-like symptoms, stay indoors. Avoid close contact with others and frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

Treatment Options

Since there are no specific treatments available for the virus, people admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19 infections are treated for the symptoms, while their immune systems rally to fight the virus off. In severe cases, where the virus results in pneumonia, respiratory support may be required and it can result in severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

A few things you can do if you start seeing mild symptoms of the disease, which range from respiratory difficulties, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties are:

  • Take pain and fever medication
  • Take measures such as a hot shower or use a room humidifier to help ease a sore throat and cough
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Stay at home and get supportive care
  • Get medical help if your symptoms persist
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