Can you order food? Can children play outside? Get your doubts on Covid cleared HERE
With many states in India witnessing a fresh surge in Coronavirus cases and the government reluctant to order another lockdown, we took some of questions that you have been seeking answers to from our team of experts.
Dr Dinesh V Kamath and Dr Aravinda G M, Consultant Physicians (Internal Medicine) at the Manipal Hospitals, are responding to your questions. Read on
With many states reopening educational institutions, public transport and places of worship, what are the basic precautions measures to be adopted?
Dr Aravinda G M: The most important is the physical and social distancing and personal hygiene with proper sanitisation. The schools are to strictly adhere to the government prescribed guidelines and educate and aware the students and parents about the required conduct and Do's and Don'ts. The student’s family to ensure, that the social distancing and sanitation is also maintained with good health parameters are practised at home so that the infection spread is prevented by avoiding students becoming carriers.
Does Coronavirus spread via packaged food products? Do we need to sanitise the products that we buy from the market?
Dr Aravinda G M: Coronavirus is known to stay on surfaces from hours to days. Hence, it's advised to sanitise the surfaces which can be done like carton boxes and packets. Try not to receive products directly in hands from the delivery person. Use a handbag, or as the person to keep it on the floor or a table and pick the package only after sanitisation. Farm produce like fruits and vegetables are to be properly washed before consumption.
Is it safe for children to go out and play?
Dr Aravinda G M: Playing helps cognitive development and physical wellbeing for all ages. For children, it's very important to go out and play as this helps in the development of immunity as well. However, during the pandemic, they were restricted indoors for several months. Although the threat of COVID 19 is not yet over, your children can play outside while maintaining physical distancing and sanitisation. As parents, you can take a call based on the prevalence of cases in your locality. It is advised to have a balance indoor engagements and outdoor exposures for children. Maintaining good health will help them stay protected.
Is the situation safe enough to eat out or order in food?
Dr Aravinda G M: There is no evidence of corona-spread through food. However, dining out is known as the reason for the first spread in many countries. Therefore, it’s better to avoid dining out. Ordering food through known places maintaining hygiene is safer in comparison to other unknown vendors. You can avoid contracting the infection by taking precautions like proper sanitation of the delivery package and sanitisation of hands before and after getting in contact with the package.
When a vaccine does come in and begin to be used, will Covid-19 cease to exist?
Dr Aravinda G M: It's too early to comment on this. We know that many other diseases spread through viruses still exist besides there is a vaccine available and in use. With time, the viruses are known to lose their virulence and humans also develop immunity against the viruses.
Will one shot of the vaccine be enough to guarantee protection from Covid-19?
Dr Aravinda G M: The dose of vaccine, whether it is one-shot or multiple are purely based on the vaccine type and supporting clinical evidence about its efficacy and safety. The recent studies on the vaccines shown promising outcome are proposing a two-dose protocol for desired results. Having said that, the research is on and there might be a vaccine developed which can deliver the required output with just one shot.
What is the connection between winters and Coronavirus?
Dr Dinesh V Kamath: There is a prediction that like common cold and flu, COVID 19 disease may also increase during winter season. So coming cold season we may see a second wave and increasing incidence of COVID. Reasons cited are in cold weather most people tend to remain indoor with close interaction between friends and family members and also there may be poor ventilation which helps the virus to replicate faster and spread infection.
What kind of co-morbidities accelerate the risk of Coronavirus?
Dr Dinesh V Kamath: In the last 9 months it is observed that there is increased incidence of COVID 19 disease in elderly people with age more than 60 years, obese and overweight people, and people having comorbid illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, cancer and taking Immuno Suppressant Medicines.
Also it was observed that COVID 19 was more severe in these patients requiring hospital admission, ICU treatment, ventilator support and dialysis in most of these patients. These patients are having low Immunity levels with low fighting capacity to the virus resulting in serious complications.
9. Can health complications arise post Coronavirus recovery?
Dr Dinesh V Kamath: We are seeing COVID patients developing various health complications even 2 to 3 months after the illness. The Coronavirus affects the heart muscle causing heart failure, heart attack, rhythm disturbances. It can affect the lungs causing persistent cough, breathing difficultly requiring oxygen therapy at home for a long time.
It can affect the brain causing stroke, convulsions and temporary limb weakness called Guillane Barre Syndrome. It can affect blood cells causing the blood to clot in vessels supplying the kidney, heart or peripheral limbs. Most of COVID patients are coming with extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pains, headache, dizziness, and difficulty in breathing. Some have developed fear resulting in depression and anxiety with Insomnia. Luckily most of these symptoms come down within 2 to 3 months.
10. There is speculation doing the rounds that people with a specific blood group are more prone to Coronavirus than others? Could you clarify?
Dr Dinesh V Kamath: It has been observed all over the world, people with O+ve Blood Group have been least affected with COVID 19 disease. Most of the cases were found in people with A, AB and B+ve Blood group. People with A and AB blood group were having severe illness requiring ICU admission, ventilator support, dialysis and prolonged hospital stay. Research is still going on to know the reason for this disparity of the disease in various blood group individuals.
11. How can people boost their immunity to prevent the risk of contracting Coronavirus?
Dr Dinesh V Kamath: This includes diet, exercise, adequate rest, medicines and general precautions. We should eat food with low carbohydrates and high protein, vegetables and fruits rich in anti-oxidants, vitamin C, multi-vitamins and minerals like Zinc. All these will help to increase our blood cells to fight against the virus.
It is advisable to do regular exercise daily for 30 to 45 minutes which not only helps to improve our immunity, but also helps in controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, blood lipids, and weight reduction.
We advise people to take adequate sleep for 7 to 8 hours which will help in eliminating toxins out of our body and improve the body immunity. Also it is important to take supplements like Vitamin C, Zinc, Multi Vitamins specially in people having diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung and kidney problems with multi-nutrient deficiency.
General measures like washing hands frequently after using public transport, using alcohol-based sanitising solutions, wearing mask regularly and maintaining safe distance in public places helps in improving our immune status.
Exposure to sunlight everyday to get Vitamin D and taking home remedies containing turmeric, amla, coriander, cumin, pepper, garlic, cinnamon and ginger. Drinking warm water, steam inhalation and saline gargling twice daily and doing regular pranayama, yogasanas and meditation will all help in boosting our immunity to prevent getting COVID 19.