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Asymptomatic patients could spread COVID-19 to others, say Aster doctors

Asymptomatic patients could spread 
COVID-19 to others, say Aster doctors

CATHERINE W GICHUKI
DOHA
Some people with the coronavirus (COVID-19) may not have symptoms of the disease (asymptomatic) and may spread the virus to others, Aster doctors have said.
Speaking at a Web series to debunk the myths associated with COVID-19 and learn about the virus with a special focus on patients with respiratory illnesses, Dr Jobin Rajan Benjamin, Internist at Aster, said someone can be asymptomatic and still be vector to spread the virus.
“We have seen that 30 to 40 percent are asymptomatic. We call them silent carriers and these can be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. When they come in close contact with others, these people spread the virus,” he said.
Talking about ways to build immunity during this season, Dr Benjamin said besides hand hygiene and social distancing, people should have a healthy diet and do exercises.
About COVID-19 vaccine, he said at present there is no vaccine against the virus but research works are going on to develop some. However, nothing fruitful has materialised yet.
“To date, no vaccination has been found. That’s why we are more particular about personal hygiene and social distancing,” he pointed out.
Dr Vijayant Solanki, a pulmonologist, said COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease and people with respiratory disorders are at risk of getting it, just like anyone else.
He said, “The risk of getting COVID-19 may depend on the level of precautionary measures such as hand hygiene, social distancing as well as avoiding touching of nose, ears and mouth with hands that are not clean. This can also depend on how often they come into contact with infected people as well as the level of infections in the community. People should consider themselves as having the potential of contracting the virus.”
He urged asthmatic people to use their inhalers and follow all precautionary measures, and those with severe lung conditions such as COPD or bronchitis to isolate themselves for weeks.
“They should observe social distancing even at home. They should isolate themselves from family members who have been outside the house. This is because their lungs are already damaged and in case they contract COVID-19, it will be severe for them,” he said.
He advised people with lung conditions to continue taking their medications as prescribed by their physicians.
About a myth that people with asthma should increase their medications since it contains steroids that could help in preventing COVID-19, Dr Solanki said this is not true and people should stick to their physician’s prescriptions.
He also urged smokers to quit the habit because in case they contract COVID-19, it would be more severe, adding that studies are still going on to find out if COVID-19 has a long-term effect on the lungs.

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