Coronavirus: Some Myths and Facts
As I write these lines, the rapid spread of the virus that causes COVID -19 has taken the entire world in its grip and has impacted a lot because of its horrifying effect. The epidemic that started in Wuhan, China on December 8, 2019, has infected more people worldwide than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) combined.
Let us first understand what is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are large family of viruses, causing illness to both humans and animals. Since the virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism, it finds humans as their perfect host. We are already aware of several Coronavirus, causing respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases like SARS and MERS. COVID-19 is the most recently discovered coronavirus.
What is COVID-19
COVID-19 is an infectious disease that can affect our lungs and airways. It is caused by the most recently discovered Coronavirus and is the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. The virus and the disease were unknown before this outbreak in China.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Fever, cough and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms of COVID-19. Patients may even show aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms may be mild at first and begin gradually and patients may recover without requiring special treatment.
However, older people and those with underlying medical histories like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. Recent data shows that around 1 out of every 6 people, who get infected become seriously ill and may require immediate medical attention.
How is Corona Virus transmitted?
As Dr. Ravi Prakash states, “Human to human transmission is by droplet infection. The viruses are around 500 nm in diameter. As soon as a person coughs, it usually settles on an inanimate object. When others touch those objects, they pick up the virus and subsequently when they touch the mucosal surfaces like mouth or nose, the virus infects those mucosal surfaces. Hence it is very important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick. The virus can be transmitted by metal and plastic surfaces as well, as it survives there for 2-3 days. If an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplet can stay in the air for 2-3 hours. During that time, it will be infective. However, it will be mostly after a person touches the virus manually and then touches other surfaces, the infection is likely to take place. But aerosol infection from the air can happen.”
Let’s Discuss Some Myths and Facts
As the novel coronavirus 2019 i.e, COVID-19, continues to affect people all over the world, there is so much inaccurate information doing rounds, making it difficult for people to understand what is a myth and what is a reality. Here is a list of the compilation of some common myths and facts about coronavirus.
- MYTH: Coronavirus can’t be transmitted through hot and humid weather.
FACTS: Coronavirus can be infected through any kind of weather; regardless it is hot or cold. Appropriate preventive measures should be taken to protect against the virus.
- MYTH: The Virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted through the air.
FACT: Till date, the studies suggest that the virus that cause COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.
- MYTH: Pets can spread new Coronavirus.
FACT: There is no evidence as such to prove that Coronavirus can spread through pets such as cats and dogs. However, there are chances that some pets may be vulnerable in picking the virus from humans. It is always advisable that people should wash their hands, after snuggling with their animals.
- MYTH: There are some antibiotics that can cure Coronavirus infection.
FACT: There is no proof or evidence to date, that suggests that some antibiotics or some specific medicines can prevent or treat coronavirus.
- MYTH: Wearing a facemask will prevent you from Coronavirus.
FACT: Standard surgical masks are not designed to block out viral particles. However surgical masks can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus further by blocking any respiratory droplets that could be expelled from their mouths.
- MYTH: Coronavirus can be transmitted by non-veg food.
FACT: As stated by Dr. Ravi Prakash,” The present infection epidemic is not a zoonotic infection for us. When it started, it was a zoonotic infection. But now it is basically a human-to-human transmission that we are facing. However, any food item should be properly cooked. Even in zoonotic infection, if properly cooked, chances of infection are negligible.”
- MYTH: Getting infected with Coronavirus means death.
FACT: Studies show that 85% of people with mild illnesses may recover without any specific treatment. Others may have severe conditions like pneumonia. But the mortality rates are as less as 3-4 %. The data suggest that only around 2.3% of the people infected with COVID-19 die from the virus. But it is important to take it seriously. People should take precautionary measures to protect themselves and others from the new Coronavirus.
- MYTH: Coronavirus affects only older people.
FACT: Coronavirus can affect people of all ages, a kid, a youngster or an older person. Older people with some underlying medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart diseases, etc. are more vulnerable to coronavirus infection.
- MYTH: COVID-19 can spread from the feces of someone with the disease?
FACT: Though studies suggest that the virus may be present in feces of an infected person, however, the spread through this route is unlikely to happen. The research on the ways of the spread of Coronavirus is ongoing, hence it is important to clean hands regularly, after using the washroom and before eating.
- MYTH: A sanitizer is better than handwashing with soap.
FACT: Handwashing with soap is the best way of decontamination. The reason lies on how handwashing with soap works. The soap water creates an alkaline solution that disintegrates the outer envelope of the virus thereby definitely killing the virus. However, it is important that the handwashing must be done for at least 40 seconds.
Corona Virus Prevention Tips
Ample information on COVID-19 is available on national, state and local health authorities. The situation currently is quite unpredictable, hence it is important to check regularly for the latest news.
The chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 can be reduced by taking simple precautions.
- It is important to regularly and thoroughly clean our hands with sanitizer or wash them with soap and water, as it kills the viruses that may be present on the hands.
- It is important to maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from the person who is coughing or sneezing, as the liquid droplets coming out of the nose or mouth may contain the virus.
- You should avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. The reason is that hands touch many surfaces and can pick up the virus. It can ultimately transfer the virus to the nose, eyes or mouth.
- Whenever you cough or sneeze, it’s necessary to cover mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue and to dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Stay home if you have a fever, cough and difficult breathing. Seek immediate medical attention and call in advance.
Preventive Measures For Those Who Have Recently Visited COVID-19 Infected Areas
- A person showing any mild symptoms like headache, low-grade fever, a slight runny nose should self-isolate by staying at home.
- If one has to go out to buy something essential, they should always wear a mask to avoid infecting other people.
- If there are symptoms of fever, cough and difficult breathing, one should seek medical advice promptly as there are chances that it may be due to some serious respiratory infection.
- It is important that we discuss our recent travel history to our health care provider.
What Ayurveda has to offer in the fight against COVID-19
We all very well know that prevention is better than cure. In the current scenario, we do not have any medicine for COVID-19 as of now. Hence it is important that we take sufficient preventive measures to increase our immunity in these times.
Many Ayurveda experts acknowledge that, as viruses like Coronavirus are spreading through the air, a healthy change in the atmosphere can make a big difference when it comes to preventing such infection. Adding to that, it is important that we uplift and maintain our immunity, as mentioned in Ayurveda scriptures.
- Drink water throughout the day.
- Daily practice of yoga asanas, Pranayama, and meditation for at least 30 minutes.
- Spices like Haldi (turmeric), Jeera (Cumin), Dhaniya (Coriander), and lahsun (Garlic) are recommended in cooking.
(As Recommended by Ministry of Ayush)
Ayurvedic Immunity Promoting Measures
- Taking 10gm of Ayurvedic Chyawanprash is highly recommended in the morning. Sukrit Ayurveda organic Chyawanprash has all the goodness of raw herbal medicine and minerals. An elaborated quality procedure is followed in its manufacturing. The organic indigenous Amla from our farms lives up with the expectations of ‘Chyawanprash’ as an authentic herbal remedy to combat potential anticarcinogens around in the environment. The ingredients such as Gokshur, Varahikand, Shatavari, Jivanti, Mudagparni, Mashaparni, Ashwagandha, Vidaarikand, Bala, Vanshalochan, and Sesame oil contribute in the aphrodisiac and vitalizing properties of Chyawanprash. It is a great immunity booster and is highly recommended in these tough times when Corona outbreak has been creating an alarming effect on health-wise, across the world.
- Ayurvedic herbal tea is highly recommended as it focuses on healing the entire body. It is a concoction of several ingredients such as cloves, pepper, turmeric, cumin seeds, haritaki, blackthorn, lots of herbs, with each one soothing different parts of our body, offering relaxation, detoxification and improving immunity. One such flavoured, aroma, and health benefits loaded ayurvedic tea is Sukrit Pey. It has 23 delicate herbs in it, including ginger, lemon, basil, peppermint, cinnamon, chamomile, Echinacea, rooibos, hibiscus, ajwain, night jasmine leaves, cloves, black pepper, cardamom, and more. All the herbs have been mixed in a balanced way, ensuring you have a fragrant and refreshing experience. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties make it no less than medicine for sore throat, clearing congestion and facilitating easy breathing. It is very beneficial for your digestive system as it absorbs gas and eliminates the problem of upset stomach and indigestion.
- Half teaspoon Haldi (turmeric) powder in 150 ml hot milk-once or twice a day is recommended.
The above measures can be followed to the extent as per an individual’s convenience.