Five things India should not do during coronavirus outbreak -
Five things India should not do during coronavirus outbreak
Posted 04 Mar 2020 12:15 PM

Source : News 18

Medical science is making unprecedented efforts to develop a treatment for a disease that has been with us only for a couple of months but no treatment exists as of date. A scientific study of herbs or homeopathy is also warranted, however, we do not expect centuries-old systems of medicine to have already described a cure for a disease which is a couple of months old in human history! Beware of spreading false messages on social media that this or that form of treatment exists.

Education of doctors and the general public are important but let us not create a situation where all persons with upper respiratory symptoms like cough and cold start rushing to clinics and hospitals, only a very minuscule fraction of persons with upper respiratory infection would have the dreaded novel coronavirus. In any case, as of now, the diagnostic test is not generally available and no specific treatment exists. All that will happen is that a deluge of people will rush to doctors and be labeled as suspect cases, administered unnecessary antibiotics and fill up hospital beds(and their coffers).

We are all aware of what happens when dengue hits. Medical science clearly knows that it is only a small fraction of dengue cases that deserve admission but the reverse happens. Low platelet counts are used to scare patients and administer tones of unnecessary and potentially hazardous transfusions.

While it may be prudent to ask persons with upper respiratory infection to use face masks and educate them on proper use, there is no point in suggesting that all apparently normal individuals have a face mask at all times in the hope that this will prevent them from getting infected. Let us also remember that cloth face masks are useless and so is any wet mask. The general public needs to be made better aware of hand and cough hygiene. This will go a long way in preventing many diseases.

While travel restrictions to China are OK, It does not make much sense to impose entry-level restrictions on returning travelers. Asymptomatic cases will still enter and in any case it is very easy to hide a fever. It just needs a pill to be taken.

Panic is our worst enemy. The country can least afford an economic slump just out of panic. Let us remember we have constantly had bigger killer diseases-undernutrition, diarrhea and tuberculosis to name a few.

About the author: Dr.Sandeep Saluja is a graduate and post-graduate from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi where he was also the recipient of the V Ramalingaswamy Award. He has over 40 publications in international medical journals and on the panel of reviewers of many of them. Currently he is a medical volunteer at Dayalbagh which is the head quarters of Radhasoami faith and committed to social cause.

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