Coronavirus – How to Reduce the Risk of Infection?
In Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China several cases of Severe Respiratory illness reported during the month of December 2019 and the situation has created panic in China as many people are succumbing to this novel deadly virus.
The major cause for concern is that this virus didn’t match any of the other known viruses. If a new virus infects a large number of people, it raises alarming bells as the authorities don’t know how this novel virus affects people.
One week later, the Chinese authorities declared that they had identified the novel virus as coronavirus, which belongs to the family of SARS, MERS and common cold viruses. They named it as “2019-nCoV”.
Since then, WHO started working collaboratively with the Chinese authorities and other global experts to know more about the virus; how it affects; how people become sick; how they can be treated and what the concerned authorities, medical experts and countries can do to respond to it and prevent it from spreading.
The situation is alarming in China as more than 6500 confirmed cases have been declared so far and the death count is still rising. Coronavirus is really creating havoc worldwide as it is slowly becoming pandemic. The virus has so far spread to Australia, USA, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and Myanmar.
The risk of infection spreading to India and neighbouring countries is quite high. In such situations, it is very essential to know the risk factors and the ways in which we can reduce the risk of infection.
How to Reduce the Risk of Infection?
To reduce the risk of Coronavirus Infection, WHO has released the following guidelines:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid close contact with suspected individuals having cold and flu-like symptoms.
- Don’t come in close contact with animals especially farm and wild animals.
- Avoid unprotected contact with live animals.
- Use different chopping boards for cutting raw meat, vegetables and cooked foods.
- Thoroughly cook meat and eggs.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue while sneezing and coughing.
- Immediately wash visibly dirty hands with soap and running tap water.
- Avoid unprotected contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth after coming in contact with the suspected person.
- Properly handle meat and cook it thoroughly.
- Avoid contact with stray animals, spoiled foods, wastes and fluids in the market places.
- Disinfect working area and equipment at least once daily.
- While travelling avoid contact with people suffering from cold and fever.
- While travelling use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Eat well-cooked foods
- Wash your hands:
- Before cooking food
- Between handling raw and cooked meat
- After preparing food
- Before eating
- After sneezing and coughing
- While caring for the sick
- After caring for the sick
- After handling animals and animal waste
- After toilet use
In India, not even a single case of coronavirus has been reported so far. The travellers from China are being screened for the virus. According to the instructions given by the Ministry of Health – travellers from China must report to the nearest healthcare facility, if they experience any signs and symptoms similar to cold and flu or even if they feel unwell with any other symptoms. In addition, The Ministry of Health has released circulars and instructed the concerned healthcare authorities to put in place screening facilities at seven major airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin to screen travellers from China.
Dr. Md. Mateenuddin
MBBS, DTRD, DNB (Respiratory Medicine)
Senior Consultant Pulmonologist