Tips on Staying Safe During the COVID-19 Outbreak by a Doctor

With no confirmed treatment for COVID-19, preventive methods need to be adopted to stop coronavirus spread

Published21 Mar 2020, 11:58 AM IST
3 min read

COVID-19 is a reality now and cannot be wished away. We are inching to stage 3 faster than what we initially reckoned.

It is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg that has been reported because we do not have enough kits to make testing for the virus more widely implemented.

As there is no treatment yet, we can only try various preventive methods in a bid to stop the virus from playing further havoc.

The 14 hour Janta curfew on Sunday, 22 March, is likely to be an exercise extending to over about 36 hours for most people. While it does not pass the muster of scientific rigour as to the mechanism of breaking the chain as has been reported earlier, certainly it appeals to common sense and logic that the transmission rate may be lowered purely because of forced stoppage of human interaction for a length of time, which among other things, would give enough time to sanitise the indoor environs.

Hence, we should follow it diligently and rigorously.

Take Care of Overall Hygiene - From Washing Your Hands to Your Clothes

Reams have been written about the importance of handwashing.

There are some other often overlooked things which can help us reduce touching the face inadvertently or reflexly which is one of the major modes of transmission. It would be a good idea to open the doors etc. by the doorknobs and handles using one’s non-dominant, in most cases, the left hand because reflexly, it is only the dominant right hand that one tends to touch the face with.

Nose picking, in particular, is a bad idea and needs to be checked.

On entering the house after a day’s work, one should change immediately, if possible in the room / bathroom closest to the main door and take a bath.

Wash all clothes daily, especially the towels. Those clothes which cannot be washed daily, like some trousers and other delicate clothes or fabrics, be steamed or ironed soon after being taken off.

Exercise to Increase Immunity

Daily exercise even in the homebound situation, is supposed to increase immunity.

Not much is known about this virus, even as admitted by the WHO, hence the guidelines are changing with a very rapid pace as new information is emerging.

However, one can certainly do things which are apparently harmless and would possibly be helpful in warding off the disease.

It would be a good idea to use our redoubtable haldi every day, possibly as haldi and milk which has gained a formidable reputation as ‘turmeric latte’ across the world.

The active ingredient curcumin has been shown in several studies to stop the ‘cytokine storm’ of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, in the earlier epidemics of SARS and Ebola viruses. More data is needed before Hydroxychloroquin and Azithromycin can be recommended either as treatment or prophylaxis.

It is very clear that the virus does not choose its victims. Celebrities and the powerful have been afflicted and in several cases primarily because of their own irresponsible behaviour to themselves and to their countrymen at large. s.

Bringing any such symptoms or travel history to the notice of the health authorities would be a great service to the nation in this hour of crisis. Finally, it is also our moral obligation to educate and protect our domestic help/maids and other worker

It may not be out of place to mention the ancient Hindu way of life which entailed greeting others with a Namaste, taking off footwear before entering the house and washing hands, feet and face after entering the house, before meeting anybody, and especially before eating food.

(Dr Ashwini Setya is a Gastroenterologist and Programme Director in Delhi’s Max Super Speciality Hospital. His endeavor is to help people lead a healthy life without medication. He can be reached at

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