The novel Coronavirus, or commonly referred to as COVID-19, is a newly discovered strain of virus that causes respiratory illness. COVID-19 comes from a family of coronavirus that is known to cause SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Symptoms) virus. COVID-19 disease is known to affect the respiratory tract and has a varied range of symptoms – ranging from mild to severe.
This virus has an incubation period of around 14 days. One may start to develop the symptoms after having exposure to the virus. Some of the common symptoms are cough, fever, chills, sore throat, muscle pain along with shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell. Some other severe gastrointestinal symptoms are nausea, vomiting or even diarrhoea. In some extreme cases, the patient is seen to develop pneumonia as well.
The primary cause of the spread of COVID-19 is believed to be through in-person contact. It is transmitted by being in close proximity with one another or through droplets of saliva produced while coughing, sneezing or talking. When a healthy person inhales these droplets containing the virus, the person may contract COVID-19. Moreover, in some cases, its transmission is seen to occur by people who do not show any signs or symptoms, i.e. a person may be the carrier but not get affected by it. While these are a few proven modes of transmission, more information is being gathered about this each passing day. It is believed that a person can contract the virus by coming in contact with a surface and then touching their own mouth, nose or ears.
Till the time there is no vaccine available the only way we can avoid it by staying protected. Knowledge about basic precautions & medical insurance can provide us with a considerable amount of security in these tough. Let us look at a few precautions that you can take to prevent it –
Wash your hands frequently
Disinfecting your hands with soap and water, particularly washing them for 20 secs, is advised. This typically applies if you have been out in a public place. This practice is further recommended to be followed after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. An alternative to soap and water can be making use of a hand sanitiser. Make sure the hand sanitiser contains at least 60% alcohol. You might involuntarily end up touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose. Being aware and not touching without washing your hands will be helpful in prevention.
Avoid Close Proximity
As the vaccine is yet to be discovered, it is better to maintain distance from people who are suffering from the symptoms mentioned above. Try to maintain a safe distance even if it is someone at your own home. When you head outdoors, try keeping a safe distance, say at least 6 feet, from each other. Avoid collective activities that require group participation.
Cover your Nose and Mouth
Wearing a face cover is extremely important, both for you and others around you. This way, you can prevent contracting and spreading the virus. Make use of the masks that are available in pharmacies and if not available, opt for a cloth that will cover your nose and mouth.
Clean and disinfect
While hygiene has always been emphasized, it is more critical during these trivial times. Make sure you wipe all items that are brought in your home. This includes the food packets too. It is recommended you clean and disinfect all surfaces like doorknobs, switchboards, handles, desks and more. While you’re at it, don’t forget to disinfect your phones too.
While these are a few ways to protect your health, availing medical insurance will help you stay worry-free. A cashless health insurance policy would ensure that you do not have to pay any of the bills from your own pocket. If you have an existing health cover and are confused whether it includes protection against COVID-19, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has added protection against COVID-19 for all insurance plans that have a hospitalization cover. So whether it is your individual or family floater health insurance, your policy covers COVID-19 treatment as per the specified terms & conditions of the policy.
Also published on Medium.