Coronavirus : WHO Raises Global Risk From ‘High’ To ‘Very High’
Coronavirus cases have been now detected in 57 countries, including India, United States, UK, UAE, and Australia and as far as Canada. As of yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized the global risk of coronavirus to ‘very high’ from its previous ‘high’ status.
Breath and Beats caught up with Dr Murali Chakravarthy, Director, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Relief of Fortis Hospitals, and Dr Reshu Agrawal, Consultant, Internal Medicines at Manipal Hospitals, for some medical advisory for worried Indians.
What is Novel Coronavirus?
Dr Chakravarthy explains: “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. 2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The first case was reported in China on 11th January 2020.”
Dr Agrawal adds, “It has spread across the globe with and suspected to have infected/reached even wider, so Indians need to be alert and take all necessary precautions.”
What Are Important Early Symptoms of The Virus?
It mimics flu-like symptoms but escalates very quickly. Watch out for:
- Headaches and high grade fever
- Runny nose, cough, sore throat
- Exacerbated asthma
- Difficulty in breathing
- Fatigue, and sometimes even muscle or abdominal pain
- Rare cases, it may also cause bronchitis or pneumonia
How Does Coronavirus Spread?
“It can spread while coughing and sneezing; it can spread by touching or shaking hands with an infected person; making contact with an infected surface and then touching your nose, yes or mouth; and rarely, coronavirus may spread through contact with feces,” says Dr Chakravarthy.
How Can You Safeguard Yourself Against The Virus?
There are a number of preventive measures that are the basics of good hygiene that you can follow to safeguard yourself.
Dr Agrawal lists them out:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Wear a mask if you have to travel to crowded places when you are unwell.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals/uncooked or undercooked meat.
Dr Chakravarthy adds:
- Avoid contact from the person showing symptoms of respiratory illness.
- Take proper rest and avoid overexertion.
- Drink enough water.
- Avoid smoking and smoky areas.
- Take medicine to reduce pain and fever.
- Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer.
Are There Any Vaccinations Available For Coronavirus?
“Well, not as of now,” confirms Dr Agrawal. So don’t get fooled by those running a medical racket, claiming to have vaccinations against Coronavirus. There are over 20 that are in development, but they’re a long way from being released into the public as they are still being tested.