Things You Should Know about Covid-19: From the Experts 

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March 13, 2020

Things You Should Know about Covid-19: From the Experts 

Top 10 Useful Facts 

  1. Hand sanitizers.Do you need to have an alcohol-based wash to thoroughly wash your hands at the moment? 

According to Dr. Sarah Doyle (Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the Health Service Executive):  

No, you can just use water and soap. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands. 

  1. Mask– When and where to use them?  

According to Dr. Samuel McConkey ( Associate Professor and Head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He is also a consultant in infectious diseases at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.): 

I wouldn’t recommend the general public walking down O’Connell Street to be wearing a mask. It’s not the sensible thing to be doing. Masks are a technical tool for healthcare workers and for people who are either suspected to have coronavirus or else who do have coronavirus. 

  1. What to do if you get the virus?People are asking if fluids and paracetamol help? 

According to Dr. Ray Walley (GP and former president of the IMO): 

If they contact their GP regarding this, [health authorities] will make sure that they satisfy the criteria and will be engaging with the public health. If they are tested positive, they will be directed to a hospital and then it will be managed in that clinical situation. So as with any other illness, it’s important that you are well-hydrated and eating well. It’s important that you take antipyretics. And if you are clinically with that diagnosis in the hospital setting, then you’ll be supported regarding how you’d be managed.  

  1. Infection rate– As this is a new virus, and we have no natural immunity, am I right in thinking if you’re in contact with an infected person, you will automatically be infected? 

According to Ray Walley (GP and former president of the IMO): 

The infection rate appears to be about 20% which means that 80% of people will not be infected. Generally, you need to be in the vicinity of a person for 15 minutes within 1-2 months.  

  1. Chemotherapy and immuno-suppression– For a lady who’s going on chemotherapy, what can she do to protect herself 

According to Dr. Sarah Doyle (Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the Health Service Executive): 

So again, to come back to this – washing hands is absolutely key for this lady but also to ask people who are ill not to visit and to avoid people who are unwell. (the same advice applies to those who are immunosuppressed.) 

  1. Flu Vaccines – Is there a value to taking the flu vaccine in relation to coronavirus

According to Dr. Sarah Doyle (Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the Health Service Executive): 

 No, there’s no value in taking it but a considerable number of people who’ll be dealing with their GP, will be coming in with an influenza, and some of those people will not have had the flu vaccine even though they had been strongly advised. 

  1. Cross-transmission– Is the virus transmissible from or to dogs, cats, birds?  

According to Dr. Sarah Doyle (Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the Health Service Executive): 

We’ve no evidence that that is the case. 

  1. Flying– How is flying still possible when sharing a common area surely presents a risk? 

According to Dr. Sarah Doyle (Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the Health Service Executive): 

In Ireland, we don’t have sustained community transmission – and on flights in and out of Ireland. So, we’re not advising any restrictions on people flying at the moment. 

  1. Public Transport– Is it inevitable that if someone on a public transport has [covid-19] then the rest of the passengers will get it?  

According to Dr. Ray Walley (GP and former president of the IMO): 

The context is that we don’t have any confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland. Basically, cough etiquette and hygiene must be practiced. Coughing correctly into your elbows and using single-use tissues. And washing your hands after the toilet, as well as before, during and after food preparation. 

Regarding travelling – your GP is not the person that you’d ring in regards to travel. The Department of Foreign Affairs – who provide up to date data – is the people that you ring. What we want to ensure is that the phone lines to general practitioners are only for clinical cases which must be dealt with. 

  1. Symptoms– Do people need to seek help if they have cough, fever, and shortness of breath, or just one of these? Is it true that only 60-70% alcohol hand gels would kill coronavirus?  

According to Dr. Ray Walley (GP and former president of the IMO): 

Simple standard washing techniques – washing for about 20 seconds which is the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice, I guess – is good enough.   

About the symptoms – just one is enough [to seek help] but again [providing that] you’re satisfying the algorithm of the countries you’ve gone to, or you’ve been in a facility that has dealt with Covid-19, or you’ve been in the vicinity of someone who’s been diagnosed with Covid-19. 

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