Infection

The Truth & Myth On The Recent Coronavirus Outbreak At DoctorOnCall

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Myth vs Facts On Coronavirus

The Myth: I sneeze frequently recently, it’s probably the coronavirus
The Fact: Although patients infected with the novel coronavirus may manifest symptoms like sneezing, coughing, fever and respiratory distress, it does not mean that people who are having similar symptoms have gotten infected with the disease. The usual diagnosis that can be made with these similar symptoms are common flu, influenza virus or just a common cold. The diagnosis of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will only be made if the serology test is positive. However, it would be good to seek a medical consultation and to get your blood checked if you are experiencing similar symptoms. The symptoms may show up anywhere from 2 to 14 days after someone is exposed to the virus.

The Myth: The coronavirus is a new virus
The Fact: Yes, but not totally yes. The outbreak that we are facing right now is the latest 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which is a type of coronavirus. The strain of this virus is new and this type (coronavirus) is actually an old virus that has been given people nightmares years before. Have you heard about SARS or MERS? Yes, both of them are actually from the same type of virus, coronavirus. SARS is an acronym for severe acute respiratory syndrome and MERS is the middle-east respiratory syndrome related coronavirus. The difference is that they are from different strains. There are also different less dangerous strains of coronavirus around the world that may cause similar respiratory symptoms to the patient that we may have never heard of before.

The Myth: I had a flu shot before, so I’m vaccinated against the coronavirus
The Fact: The flu shot is actually a vaccination for influenza virus. It is a different type of virus from coronavirus. We still don’t have the the vaccine to protect against the coronavirus whether it is the SARS, MERS or the latest 2019 COVID. So be sure to always practice good hygiene habits and don’t be too confident about yourself of not being infected with the virus when you had taken the flu shot.

The Myth: I’m protected against the virus because I’m wearing facial mask
The Fact: Although it is good to wear a facial mask during this outbreak season, it is better to wear it correctly and to have your hand hygiene in check. The correct way to wear a facial mask is to ensure that the coloured parts either blue or green depending on the mask stays outside and to ensure that the part that has a strip of metal is put on your nose bridge. More important than that is actually to ensure that the hand stays clean. Since we touch a lot of things that we are unsure of its cleanliness, it’s better for us to keep them clean. The best way to keep the hands clean is to practice the correct way of washing hands and to wash hands more oftenly. Use soap and water when washing the hands and use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available. It is indeed a better way of avoiding the infection by having good hand hygiene rather than wearing the facial mask.

Written by: Dr Mohd Ramzdhan Bin Mohd Masdar

MD (Crimea State Medical University)

1 Feb 2020
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