In the wake of COVID-19, a whirlwind of a pandemic, people all over in the world are in the same boat and there is currently only one solution to stay safe from this problem: social distancing. Being at home ensures that you have a good chance of not catching the virus.
Kolkata-based Dr Subroto Chakrabartty, MD (Pediatrics), DCH, FIAP, says the first step of a home quarantine is to not panic. He says there are two ways a virus can reach you; through respiratory droplets or fomites.
“If a person with COVID-19 talks in close proximity to you, the virus tends to hang in the air before gravitation pulls it down. The life of the virus is close to 6 hours. So, if there isn’t an infected person at home, rest assured there’s no threat. Then there are fomites, in simple terms, carriers of the virus. They could be newspapers, milk packets and suchlike. So, ensure that you either stop taking them and if you absolutely must, in case of milk packets, then wash them with water and detergent before using them.”
However, if the symptoms are clearly those of coronavirus, such as cough, fever and shortness of breath, he says that it is crucial for you to get in touch with the local authorities or to call the COVID helpline and get yourself tested.
Similarly, Mumbai-based Dr Khushnuma Sam Calagopi, BHMS, a Homeopathic Physician at Parsi Homeopathic Pharmacy Marine Lines, asks you to stay at home except to get medical care. “Do not leave, except to get medical care. And do not visit public areas. If you feel worse or you think it is an emergency, stay in touch with your doctor and call them before you take any medicine,” is the advice.
In case you are self-quarantining (upon medical advice), Dr Calagopi suggests that staying in a separate room and using a separate bathroom is essential. There should be absolutely no contact with either another person or pets (although animals haven’t reported COVID-19 till now, it’s better to maintain a distance until more information is available).
However, if you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
We also spoke to Dr Surajit Chatterjee, MBBS – Hons, Gold Medalist, MD – Pulmonary Medicine (Chest), FCCP (USA) based in Kolkata.
“If one gets clear symptoms, they should urgently seek medical advice in an appropriate setup; do tests if recommended by registered doctors, and most importantly home quarantine for at least 14 days.”
The pandemic has not entered Stage 3 in India yet. While social distancing and proper hygiene is far more difficult in slums or villages as opposed to urban areas, the country-wide lockdown, effective from March 25 is a great step to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This too shall pass; and here’s hoping that we collectively do our bit to overcome this period of crisis.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)