Last updated on February 26, 2020
With three confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Kerala, the need for informed precautions has become all the more important
IT STARTS with the common cold, a seemingly harmless affliction. Yet it has caused a health crisis around the world. Covid-19, the latest strain of Coronavirus, spreading its infection across the globe, stemmed from Wuhan, China. Recently, an advisor at the World Health Organisation said that two-thirds of the globe could be infected by it.
The virus, that reached humans through a wild animal–the exact source has not yet been confirmed–has been spreading like wildfire. India has seen at least three confirmed cases, all in Kerala, but that has not stopped people across the country from panicking and putting on their safety masks.
Although the mortality rate of the virus is not very high and a number of people have recovered, it is extremely contagious and spreads while coming in contact with an infected person. No preventive vaccine has yet been developed so doctors like us can only advise knowing the symptoms and identifying the virus at the nascent stage. Some of the most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Dr Mosaraf Ali, a senior doctor based in Goa, advises certain tips to ensure a healthy immune system that would decrease the chance of catching the infection. Wearing masks, taking high quality multivitamins and minerals will help you build strong immunity against the virus. Dr Ali also recommends putting a drop of rose water in each eye and two drops of sinus oil in each nostril to clear the eyes and sanitise the nasal tract. He also propagates sleeping adequately, having a glass of carrot, ginger, apple and mint juice every day, and drinking two litres of water to increase your immunity and prevent you from catching the infection.
While it is best to improve your immunity, there are certain steps you can take that will prevent you from the virus, even if your immunity is not that strong. Dr Vivek Nangia, Head and Director of the Pulmonology department at the Fortis Hospital, has some small yet effective measures to avoid the infection.
Dr Nangia proposes that you wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. He recommends using an alcohol-based sanitiser when water and soaps are not available. He strictly advises against touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. He also advocates food safety and advises the use of different chopping boards for raw meat and other foods.
One of the most important measures one can take to prevent the infection is to avoid close contact with people who are sick. Since it is contagious, the chances of you getting an infection after coming in contact with an infected person are extremely high. It is keeping this in that people with confirmed cases of infection have been kept in isolation.
Dr Nangia advises that if you have caught the infection, you should not panic, and first and foremost, stay indoors and do not go out to minimise the risk of infecting others. He also advises to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and throwing the tissue in the trash immediately.
Patients who test positive for the coronavirus, they should be quarantined as soon as possible and all the objects and surfaces they have been in contact with should be sanitised immediately.
While the symptoms of the new strain of the coronavirus are very similar to that of the common flu, Dr Nangia advises to not take any symptoms lightly and seek medical attention at the earliest.
Other than mainstream medicine there are other ways as well to increase immunity and provide greater protection against the virus.
Pranayam has always boosted the immune system. Today it’s being used as an alternative therapy for many diseases. The channelising of air in a directed way not only de stresses one but also makes the human body work more efficiently.
Yoga Asanas are all to do with internal strength. Any sickness always leads to internal weakness. If yoga Asanas can be incorporated in one’s daily schedule one can keep their internal system strong enough to avoid the weaknesses that flow any viral, disease etc
With regards to public health, the government has assured the availability of the necessary medical infrastructure to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Still, it is best to make sure that individuals at all levels are aware of the symptoms, preventive measures and advised course of action to be taken to ensure speedy recovery and non-contamination of others.
Dr Reshma is an advocate of wellness, prevention and holistic health.
Instagram handle: dr.reshmakhattarbhagat