#ASKWION: What precautions should a pregnant woman take? and other coronavirus-related queries answered

Delhi Mar 25, 2020, 06.27 PM(IST) Written By: Dr Chetna Jain

Medical staff in a protective suit treats a patient suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in an intensive care unit at the Oglio Po hospital in Cremona, Italy Photograph:( Reuters )

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Here are answers to some of the important questions related to Coronavirus

WION has started #ASKWION campaign where we are pleased to answer all your Covid-19 related queries. Use #AskWion and send us your questions on Twitter tagging us.

Here are answers to some of the important questions related to Coronavirus which can help you protect yourself from the pandemic.

Q: Does Covid-19 spread through the air?  
A: Coronavirus spreads through droplets which remain airborne for a duration of 8 hours or longer to enable transmission and drop on a surface due to gravitational force. Though there is one study which suggests that airborne transmission of the virus may stick to airborne droplets which probably drop up to 3 feet from the infected sneeze or cough. 

Q: In a vegetable/grocery shop, if people used the same basket, used by asymptomatic person earlier, will the infection pass to all or only up to 2 or 3 users subsequent to the first user. Should not super bazaars clean the baskets every now and then? 
A: The leading supermarkets have regular sanitisation processes in place which have been augmented to meet the current challenge. Since the virus remains on plastic for 8 hours and on aluminium for 2 to 3 hours, so trolleys with aluminium handlebars appear to be safer. The surface can't be considered clean unless disinfected each time between users. Hence the virus can be transmitted to all subsequent users until its cleaned. Supermarkets have come up with a solution. They are allowing small numbers inside. Each one is given sanitiser and gloves at entry. However, the best way to prevent an infection is to wear a mask and disposable gloves during any such visit.  

Q: Does having tea in the morning prevent Coronavirus?  
A: Having green tea can boost immunity as it is full of antioxidants. Besides, adding tulsi leaves in normal tea as it is warm or chewing raw turmeric can also boost immunity. However, in the current scenario, they may not be enough and precautionary measures such as social distancing and home quarantine are absolutely necessary.  

Q: How well is India prepared to tackle Covid -19 outbreak? 
A: There are challenges in the healthcare system and any sudden surge in the number of affected people will exert further pressure on it. The production of protective gears for healthcare workers has increased and drug parks are being prepared to reduce our dependence on other nations for basic ingredients to make medicines. At the same time, the supply of medicines has been exempted from the 21-day lockdown. With help from our people in the form of social distancing and isolation, we can successfully fight the pandemic. We hope to successfully fight. Reality is grim. For each case diagnosed many go unnoticed. The biggest challenge is with people living in cramped environments. 

Q: Can theobromine and theophylline cure or prevent Coronavirus? 
A:  Some early reports suggest that these can prevent or cure Corona. Larger and longer use will determine the value of these agents. Meanwhile, no harm in sipping warm tea three times daily. Ensure measures to avoid acidity. 

Q: Can you tell what precautions pregnant women should take to prevent Coronavirus infection. 
A: Universal precautions for Coronavirus remains applicable for pregnant women. In addition, they should isolate from people with flu at home. They should call up their treating obstetrician to know when they should visit. They must reduce visits to the hospital, do scan only when necessary, keep immunity boosted with Zinc and vitamins C. Go to a maternity hospital, avoiding regular multi-speciality hospital, visit in early hours, sit away from others in waiting area, wear a mask. 

Q: What are the chances of re-infection for a person who recovered from Covid 19? Should they also keep social distancing? Or do they get immunity? 
A: Like any viral infection Coronavirus should give immunity against the current strain. However, immunocompromised people like the elderly, cancer patients, people with chronic diseases, steroids etc but they can show reinfection. More information is yet to come. Experience and learning is adding every day. 

Q: For how long Covid-19 can stay active in the water? 
A: There is no evidence that Coronavirus can stay active in water but the containers can have it. 

Q: I brought groceries from stores. Is this possible that it may carry Coronavirus? 
A: Coronavirus can stay active on various types of surfaces for various durations. It can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel. So, it is advisable to sanitize these items before entering your home. Apply a sanitizer with 70 per cent alcohol content on fabric and sanitize them. If these are non-essential covers, discard them before entering the home.  

 (Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the Doctor and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

Dr Chetna Jain

Dr Chetna Jain is Head of Department, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Miracles Mediclinic & Apollo Cradle Hospital, Gurugram