With 30 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in India, panic has struck people across the country. A lot of misinformation is also spreading on social media regarding the spread of the virus.
In this time of crisis, it is important that we keep ourselves well informed and stay safe as much as possible. Here, we have tried to answer some of the frequent questions people have in mind with regard to the new coronavirus.
Q. What are the common symptoms?
A. Fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea.
Q. How does it spread?
A. Through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are released when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. People touching surfaces infected with the virus can also catch it.
Q. What is the minimum safe distance we should maintain from a sick person.
A. One should stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
Q. Can wearing a mask protect us from the virus?
A. Wearing masks is suggested for those who are already infected with COVID-19, or those who are looking after a sick person. Also, if you are using masks, you need to dispose them off safely.
Q. Does the virus spread through coming in contact with a person who has a cough?
A. Yes, it is possible if you are in close contact with the person, i.e. within 3 feet.
Q. Is it possible to contract the virus from a person who isn't sick?
A. Although humans are contagious when they are sick, some spread might be possible before people show symptoms.
Q. Is washing hands and using hand sanitisers effective?
A. Cleaning your hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser will help killing viruses present on your hands. The sanitiser should have at least 60% alcohol content.
Q. Should I get myself screened if I have travelled recently?
A. If you have travelled to any place where COVID-19 is spreading, in the last 14 days, and you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms, it'd be better if you self-isolate yourself, until you recover.
Q. Will antibiotics help?
A. No. Antibiotics do not work against COVID-19. They only work on bacterial infections.
Q. Does the virus spread through contact with animals?
A. While WHO says that there is no evidence of pets having been infected spreading the virus, first case of human to animal transmission of the virus has been reported from Hong Kong.
Q. Is it safe to eat meat?
A. Coronavirus is a large family of viruses and these viruses are common in animals. Although, possible animal sources of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed, it is suggested that you practice basic hygiene while handling meat to avoid any kind of contamination.
Q. Can the virus spread through food?
A. Till now, it has only been established that COVID-19 is transmitted through droplets exhaled by an infected person. There has been no evidence of the transmission of the virus through food or food packaging.
Q. Can I get the virus from touching or using a product imported from affected countries?
A. There is no evidence to support the transmission of the new coronavirus through imported goods. Although, it cannot be completely ruled out, the risk of catching COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is low.
Q. Shall I stay home even if I have a common cold?
A. If you have mild symptoms of cold or flu that can be handled easily, you should stay home, till the symptoms subside.
Q. Is it possible to treat infected people?
While there's no vaccine or antiviral drug to treat the condition, proper hospitalization and care can relieve the symptoms. There have been reports of people getting cured of the COVID-19 infection.
Practise basic hygiene and take care of yourself. Consult a medical practitoner for more details if you have any symptoms.