Coronavirus tips: Your guide to staying safe from Covid-19

Exposure to sun, herbal medicines or remedies, gargles do not ensure protection against coronavirus.
Sanitisers are not the alternative to washing hands. There is no substitute to washing hands regularly.(PTI)
Sanitisers are not the alternative to washing hands. There is no substitute to washing hands regularly.(PTI)
Updated on Mar 19, 2020 12:09 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent

The number of coronavirus cases in India is on a sharp rise. Over 160 people have tested for Covid-19. Various states are in a state of lockdown with malls, schools and cinema halls shut. The Central government has urged citizens to stall unnecessary travelling and work from home for those who can.

In the fight against coronavirus, there are a few things that are necessary to be kept in kind. Here’s your quick guide to staying safe in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus: How does it impact the body

The Sars-Cov-2 virus moves from the back of the throat, to the lungs and then the blood, according to an analysis of the disease progression in 191 patients from Wuhan published in the journal “Lancet”.

For some time now, scientists have known that the virus spreads through respiratory droplets discharged by an infected person when they cough or sneeze. Others can contract the infection either by inhaling these droplets or touching surfaces on which these droplets land and then touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. This can be prevented by frequently washing hands for at least 20 seconds.

Myths versus facts

The virus is not airborne as people think. It is a droplet infection and can go up to a metre when a person coughs or sneezes, it, therefore, becomes important to maintain a distance of at least a metre. The virus settles on the surface of various articles and can survive for a few hours.

Coronavirus is spreading only through contact, it is not a community transmission or stage 3 of the outbreak, according to the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

There is no evidence of the virus transmission in or from pets. Exposure to sun, herbal medicines or remedies, gargles do not ensure protection against coronavirus.

The use of a mask is not recommended for healthy people. It can be used by those who are coughing or sneezing as it will keep the droplet virus from spreading. Using masks also keeps people from touching their face repeatedly. One should discard the mask after using it once or in case it gets soiled or moist. Washing hands before putting on or readjusting the mask is important. 

How can you stay safe?

According to the government and the Ministry of Health, community transmission is not happening in the country as of now. In such a situation, all those who have recently returned from a trip abroad should observe a 14-day quarantine and report immediately if they are symptomatic. Those who have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 should self isolate and get screened for the virus.

Besides this, one can protect themselves by washing hands regularly and thoroughly and use hand sanitizer. Maintain at least one-metre distance when in public and cover face with a tissue or flexed elbow while coughing or sneezing. If a person is coughing or sneezing, he/she can wear a mask but a person should know how to dispose it properly - after single use the mask should be disposed of in a close bin.

Home quarantine

As stated by the health ministry, a person under home quarantine should stay in a well-ventilated room, preferably with an attached toilet or have a separate one for use. If another family member needs to stay in the same room, it’s advisable to maintain a distance of at least one metre from the patient.

Virus-infected patients should stay away from the elderly, pregnant women, children within the household as their immune system may be low. The individual under home quarantine must restrict his/her movement within the house.

“Under no circumstances” should the individual attend any social/religious gathering such as weddings, condolences. Wash hands as often thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid sharing household items or other items with other people at home. Wear a surgical mask at all the time. The mask should be changed every 6-8 hours and disposed of. Disposable masks are never to be reused.

“Used masks should be considered as potentially infected,” the government release noted.

If symptoms appear (cough/fever/difficulty in breathing), the individual under home quarantine should immediately inform the nearest health centre or call 011-23978046.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021