By Dr. Tarun Sahni, General Physician, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital
The deadly novel coronavirus has spread to 77 countries across the world. As the world is battles COVID-19 Novel Corona Virus, the medical fraternity are jointly making efforts to contain its spread. Recently, a few cases have been reported in India. Anxiety is growing amidst the evidence that the disease has an incubation period of as long as two weeks before the symptoms start to show. In the same context we need to understand a few quick facts about the deadly virus.
What is Coronavirus?
The Novel coronavirus, nCoV is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. They are notorious for mutating quickly and acquiring new qualities.
Early Symptoms of Infection from Coronavirus
- Shortness of breath
- Runny Nose
- Frequent Sneezing
With Holi, just a day away, People in general are sceptical whether to indulge in the festival of colours. As Holi is mostly celebrated in large gatherings, this might contribute to the increase the risk of virus transmission. Since, Holi is played mostly by applying colours through hand and physical touch has been attributed to be leading cause of the coronavirus spread. Right from applying colours to greeting each other with hugs, one cannot get away from Holi celebrations without coming in close contact with others. There is inevitable involvement of water-filled balloons and pichkaris (water sprinklers). Playing with water can worsen the health condition of any person down with flu and can even cause pneumonia.
However, it is difficult for people to contain there excitement and restrict themselves from not celebrating with close family and friends,
Below precautionary measures are suggested to keep the virus at bay while enjoying Holi:
- Play Holi in closed groups: Indulge in the festival only where you have close ones playing holi and you are aware about the fact that they are not exposed to infections.
- Wash your hands as often as you can: The virus is alive on the hands for 10 minutes; frequent washing of hands will help curb the infection.
- Use Alcohol based sanitizers: Use hand sanitizers every one hour
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze: in case a tissue is unavailable cover your mouth with your elbow.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Drink warm Water: Try consuming warm water as often as you can. Gargle with warm and salt water: As this kills the tonsils’ germs and prevents them from leaking into the lungs.
- Keep yourself exposed to Sun: If the virus is exposed to a temperature of 26-27 ° C. it will be killed, as it does not live in hot regions. Also drinking hot water and sun exposure will do the trick.
- Maintain an arm length distance: Try not to get close to people while playing holi to avoid exposure to the risk factors
- Follow social distancing: Avoid venturing in public places to play holi.
- Wear Masks while playing Holi: Corona virus is large in size where the cell diameter is 400-500 micro and for this reason wearing mask can prevents its exposure and related risks. However, it is not necessary to wear mask as long as you are following the above precautionary measures.
Apart from the above-mentioned precautions it’s important to understand which are the high risk groups who are most likely at a higher risk of exposure:
- People suffering from Viral infections.
- People above 50 with a history of diabetes and heart ailments
- Young Children and Infants