Coronavirus FAQs: When to call in sick, what to do if you don't have hand sanitizer and more

Now that the symptoms are common knowledge, there are some general things that a lot of us may be wondering about - things that affect our day-to-day lives.

Myupchar March 13, 2020 13:17:06 IST
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Coronavirus FAQs: When to call in sick, what to do if you don't have hand sanitizer and more

More than 75 cases of COVID-19, as well as the first death, have been reported in India so far. Since the infection is so new (and seems to be spreading quickly), it is normal to have a lot of questions about it. When the virus first reached India last month, everyone wanted to know how to identify the disease, how it spreads and how one can be safe from it.

However, now that the symptoms are common knowledge, there are some general things that a lot of us may be wondering about - things that affect our day-to-day lives. For instance, what do you do when you don’t have hand sanitizer? They've been flying off the shelves since sanitizing is one of the ways to kill the virus. 

Coronavirus FAQs When to call in sick what to do if you dont have hand sanitizer and more

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

In this article, we are answering five such questions that you may have about the coronavirus situation right now.

What is the difference between seasonal allergies, flu and coronavirus?

Both allergies and flu have a very similar set of symptoms as that of the novel coronavirus infection. So, it is understandable if you get worried when you have a mild case of cold or flu. 

If you get seasonal allergies every year, it is highly likely that you got them this year too. Seasonal allergies show up as a runny nose, watery eyes, itching and sneezing. COVID-19 patients don’t get itching and sneezing and having a runny nose is a less common symptom of the condition. COVID-19 patients usually experience shortness of breath which is not seen in seasonal allergies.

It is a bit more difficult to differentiate the flu from COVID-19. Apart from symptoms, both these conditions also have a similar mode of transmission. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the flu has a much shorter incubation period (time between exposure to the virus and appearance of the initial symptoms) than COVID-19. Shortness of breath is a common symptom on COVID-19 but only seen in extreme cases of the flu. 

Also, COVID-19 does not spread readily in children, one of the at-risk groups for influenza.

If you have not been to a coronavirus hit region and have not come in contact with a coronavirus patient, chances are you don’t have COVID-19.

Is it safe to go to hospitals?

Most hospitals maintain a high degree of infection control standards to keep any infection from spreading. However, if it is not absolutely important, you can call your doctor or the hospital to schedule an appointment or ask about the right time to visit. 

Don’t forget to practice the standard precautionary measures including washing your hands properly, sanitizing and keeping a distance from people who show symptoms of respiratory illness, cough and cold for example.

What to do when you don’t have hand sanitiser?

Using a hand sanitizer isn't the only way to stay safe - it isn't even the best way. Wash your hands with water and soap instead. While hand sanitizers can kill the virus, simply washing your hands with soap and water is a much more effective way to remove microbes from your hands. 

Also, making your own hand sanitiser may not be a good idea, since you may not get the right concentration of alcohol and end up with an ineffective solution. 

When to call in sick?

If you develop symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath and have recently travelled to a coronavirus affected area or have come in contact with a person who is confirmed to have the condition, chances are you may have acquired COVID-19. In such a case, it is best to check in with a doctor and call in sick at work.  

What do they mean by “close contact with a coronavirus patient”?

According to the National Health Service, UK, being within 2 meters of a coronavirus patient for at least 15 minutes is counted as close contact. Living in the same house with a patient, being coughed on or talking with the patient even for a few minutes are also classified as close contact.

For more tips, read our article on Coronavirus.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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