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What to do when you are sick: Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

The world is facing a common enemy – Coronavirus. The pandemic that began in China’s Wuhan has now spread all over the globe. Till April 22, there were over 15,000 active cases and more than 600 deaths in India. The government has formed high-level task force to work on vaccines and drug testing. What is most worrying is that aged people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems, or diabetes, are more likely to develop a serious illness. The internet is flooded with information about how to prevent the infection, but, one must trust only the directives that come from the government and international health organizations like the World Health Organisation (WHO). Medical experts have been reminding us about the importance of washing hands (for at least 20 seconds) regularly and not touching our face, nose, and mouth too often. Maintaining social distancing is said to be another effective way of stopping the spread of the disease. The internet has no dearth of images of medical professionals holding placards stating, “I came to work for you, you stay at home for me.” Nonetheless, it’s very human to hit the panic button if you start feeling unwell in such a scenario. So, here’s what you should do if you are feeling sick:

Not put others’ lives in dangerSelf-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms, such as headache, low-grade fever (37.3 C or above) and a slightly runny nose, until you recover.

Wear a facemask: While sneezing or coughing, you stand the chance of spreading coronavirus. If it is essential for you to have someone bring you supplies or to go out, to buy food say, then wear a mask to avoid infecting other people. So, wear a facemask for obvious reasons.

Contact your doctor: Seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority as the national and local authorities will have the latest information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility, and thus, prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.

Disinfect everything: When in quarantine, keep everything clean by washing them and disinfecting all surfaces that others may touch.  

Monitor your symptoms and call on helpline numbers: Fever, dry cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath are some of the coronavirus symptoms. Even if you have any or all of these symptoms, you may or may not be infected. Only a confirmed test result can reveal that. Also, data suggests that 1 in 5 patients require hospitalization. So, monitor your symptoms and progress to give doctors a better picture of your health. Government websites have a list of helpline numbers for every state. Authorities can decide if you should be tested.  

Prevention is better than cure, as goes the adage, and therefore, as a precautionary measure, Google has joined hands with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and updated its homepage with ‘Do The Five’ message that can help stop the spread of coronavirus. These five steps include washing hands, coughing in the elbow, not touching the face, staying at a distance of three feet from other people, especially from those who are showing possible symptoms, and staying at home in case one is feeling sick.  While a vaccine is being developed, presently, there isn’t any cure for it. Right now, our safety is in our own hands, quite literally.    

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