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COVID-19: What you need to know

"Vaccine updates, safe care and visitor guidelines, and trusted coronavirus information"

Imagine a scenario where you could consult your doctor without having to travel, wait in the queue in the hospital/clinic or even avoid the risk of getting an infection from other patients waiting at the same place, specially in times like these where there is a viral pandemic- Welcome to the world of telemedicine.


Though they say there is no substitute to the physician’s touch while treating an illness, in today’s real world scenario it is still prudent and technically feasible to consult your doctor online and seek timely medical advice with a mobile phone/I pad/Laptop. Healthcare and other medical services can be easily accessed with the help of a smart phone. It has become more convenient to track, regulate, and monitor several details such as medicine intake, lab investigations and treatment. The communication gap between the patients and doctors for want of time and distance, has reduced over the years owing to advancements in technology.


For years together, the medical student is taught that a proper history & thorough clinical examination is the basic prerequisite to arrive at a provisional diagnosis, prior to ordering investigations. The feel of the pulse, auscultation of the chest and placing the well informed hand on the abdomen to feel the lumps and bumps can never be taken for granted.

However, the covid-19 pandemic is hastening the transition to a new model of remotely delivered healthcare that embraces the benefits of digital and data technologies. Though it may not be seen as a solution to the current crisis, it will have far reaching repercussions in the days to come.


Telemedicine has been conceptualised quite a long time back, it has been steadily on the rise in recent times. However it has not become a mainstream form of patient interaction because it defies the age old custom of the physical visit to the doctor. Besides, it needed to overcome regulatory and commercial hurdles, also requiring a proper digital infrastructure that ensures secure connection between patient and physicians. In India, the guidelines proposed a few years back, were sanctioned by the centre to cope with the covid-19 outbreak. Globally, telemedicine has also acquired validation with the Centers for disease control and prevention in the USA and National health Service in the UK.


As people face a nationwide lockdown and need medical consultations midst travel restrictions, remote health care facilitates an important and growing need to fill in the void in the current scenario. Since the beginning of March, the number of patients seeking teleconsultation on digital health care platform, has more than tripled, as per reports. Apart from the patients facing an acute illness, wherein the services in the emergency setup in the hospital is life saving, most of the other routine out-patient consultations can be managed through a digital interface, atleast for the time being. Not only does it save time and cut commutes, when doctors see patients over audio or video calls, the facilities can conserve protective equipment for healthcare workers, which is of paramount importance today.


Telemedicine practice can prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, reducing the risks to both healthcare workers and patients. A telemedicine visit can be conducted without exposing staff to viruses/infections in times of such outbreaks.


Video visits are more efficient, requiring fewer health-care workers to manage the consultation, freeing them to work on other tasks. The use of chatbots, or “doctor-less

What is the new covid-19 pandemic?

The coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing global outbreak of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)  which is caused by severe respiratory syndrome. The virus was first identified by health authorities in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the outbreak was later recognized as a major pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020 and declared as a pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease which is said to have spread to more than 160+ countries including India. It has caused panic in many countries and is affecting the lives of many. There has been around 170 confirmed cases of Corona throughout India. The Virus has spread to almost all parts of the country. Around 14 people in India have been cured and discharged.

Efforts to prevent the spread of this virus include quarantine, curfews and isolation. Many countries have closed their borders to stop the spread of the virus. Europe is said to be the most affected region.

Spread facts not fear !

Myths

Taking a hot bath will kill the virus (Myth)

The Virus cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites (Myth)Spraying chlorine over your body will kill the virus (Myth)

Facts

There are no vaccines to cure the Virus

Self isolation can help prevent the spread

Wearing Face masks will not protect you from the virus

Protective measures to fight the new COVID-19( Coronavirus) Outbreak:

Some of the symptoms of Corona may be as small as a common flu, running nose ,sore throat ,cough , fever or difficulty in breathing (Severe cases). If you show any of these symptoms do not panic but seek immediate medical attention.

Follow these steps to protect yourself and others from this pandemic.

1. Frequently wash hands

 Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands. Practice safe hygiene and protect yourself.

2. Stop touching your face/ Eyes/ Mouth

Your hands may touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses and germs. Once contaminated, your hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth . From there, the virus can easily enter your body and can make you sick and catch the virus.

3. Practice social distancing/ Isolation

Avoid social gatherings , try to work from home. Many people may not be conscious of their hygiene and make carry germs . Some people may even have the virus, as a precautionary measure it is advisable to not go out.  

4. Practice Good hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good hygiene. This may mean covering your nose and mouth with tissues or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Hygiene plays a vital role in protecting yourself and others around you.

5. Avoiding traveling

  If you have a cold, fever, flu it is advisable not to travel. The virus can be easily transmitted and can affect the people around you. Also avoid close contact with people with cold and cough.

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available through your national and local public health authority and reliable sources. Stay healthy, Stay safe.