This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more
The coronavirus disease, scientifically termed as covid-19, is a respiratory disorder caused by a virus of the same name. Since it was first traced to the Wuhan province in China in December 2019, it gets the suffix 19. The virus is part of a larger family of viruses which can infect a person with a mild common cold, or even result in severe respiratory illnesses like MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
How Does The Disease Spread?
Covid-19 can spread most easily through the air and personal contact. If an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplet can spread to another person in the vicinity through the air, or by touching something previously handled by the infected individual. As the research on covid-19 is still on, it would be a while before we have all the information about this virus.
What Can Be Done For Protection?
- Avoid contact with people who are already sick or show symptoms of cold and flu.
- Use a tissue or handkerchief while coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands repeatedly and use sanitizer solution as often as possible.
- Frequently touched surfaces such as tables, chairs, doorknobs, counters, mobile phones and laptops must be cleaned with either disinfectant wipes or cleaning sprays.
- Facemasks are helpful for those with respiratory illnesses.
How Should Cancer Patients Handle The Situation?
- Be up-to-date about vaccines: Ensure that your healthcare provider gives you all the necessary information about required vaccines and/or drugs, and also inquire about vaccines to be given to your loved ones to reduce your risk. Immunizations are extremely important since cancer always weakens immune systems. Everyone above the age of six years is recommended to get the flu vaccine once a year.
- Maintain high standards of hygiene: Cancer patients must keep tissues and hand sanitizers within easy reach. Everyday activities such as cleaning and disinfecting of homes and offices will help keep germs at bay. Coronavirus in cancer patients might be effective if those around you practice “coughing and sneezing etiquette”.
- Cancel or postpone international travel plans: Non-essential travel must be avoided at all costs, especially to countries such as Europe, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Japan and China. If it really is very important to travel, do so after consultation with your doctor.
- Symptoms may vary: In most cases, a persistent cough and accompanying fever are the first symptoms of this virus. However, as noticed across initial cases in Wuhan, 10% of the patients did not face the above but came down with nausea and diarrhoea first. Other unknown symptoms may include dizziness, abdominal pain and headache. Simply ensure that you speak to your doctor in case of any doubts whatsoever.
It was earlier thought that only the elderly are more susceptible to the virus, but as is clear from the latest case of coronavirus in India
, whereby a 3-year-old in Kerala
has been found to be infected, it can affect any age. Similarly, a 63-year old woman
tested positive in Jammu and Kashmir recently. The total tally of cases has reached above 270 in the country. Children can be protected better by adding immunity-boosting foods to their diets and creating awareness without panic.