COVID-19 Q & A with Dr Suleiman “Suli” Makore (MBChB (UZ)

  1. What is Covid-19? 

It is a virus that is part of the Coronavirus family that causes respiratory infections (diseases affecting the lungs and the airways).

Other viruses in this family include those responsible for common colds and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The most recently discovered coronavirus is COVID-19, first discovered in Wuhan, China in late 2019.

2. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

In no specific order but usually beginning in the asymptomatic (no symptoms or signs of illness but still very infectious), to sore throat, headache, cough, sneezing, fever and chills (“flu like symptoms”) progressing in severer cases to chest pain, shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat and possible symptoms of full scale pneumonia (severe difficulty in breathing, high fever).

3. What regular tests or exercises can I conduct at home? 

As it is difficult to distinguish between the common cold and COVID-19 infection in the initial stages of infection, it has to be confirmed in a laboratory from samples obtained from an infected person. What can be done at home is to manage symptoms; this starts from taking your own temperature if you suddenly feel unwell or “fluey” and are fearing Corona virus infection. It has been advised to take paracetamol at the recommended daily dose, to rest as much as possible and to have a good intake of fluids (preferably water). The paracetamol not only helps with mild pain but helps combat fever.

4. How do I protect myself from getting Corona? 

Sticking to your personal space as far as possible by practising “social distancing”, avoid physical contact with other people unless absolutely necessarily (you don’t have to shake the hands or even fist bump EVERYONE you meet); because we are now in the middle of an outbreak, avoid public gatherings, stay home as much as possible. It is advisable to walk rather than using public transport, insist on your personal space in queues. If you work in a service industry and you happen to meet lots of people daily carry a protective facemask to work, have a bottle of hand sanitizer ready, wash/sanitize your hands regularly and after any contact with other people, avoid wiping your eyes or picking your nose and make sure you sanitize your workspace regularly.

5. How do I protect others around me from getting Corona?

By insisting on your personal space you are reducing the likelihood of transmitting the virus to those around you, sanitizing your hands. If you have flue like symptoms, stay home and if possible isolate yourself from other family members, wear a protective mask when around other people.

6. Why should I practice social distancing or self-isolation? 

For your own protection and for the sake of the rest of the community, especially if you may be unaware that you are infected.

7. Why should we limit visits or gatherings? 

The fewer people you are exposed to the less likely that you will have contact with an infected person or if you are the infected person, the less likely it is that you will spread it to other people.

8. What basic hygiene or health tips can I follow?

  • Washing and/or sanitizing your hands regularly.
  • Avoid physical contact.
  • If you are coughing or sneezing do it into your arm and not facing other people.
  • Avoid touching surfaces in public venues like shops or restaurants, have a good intake of fluids daily.
  • Have friends who are part of your “support system”; friends whom you can confide in (via social media platforms) during periods of isolation especially if you are suspecting that you may have Corona (the effects of this virus also include the mental consequences of being infected by such a serious illness and it can trigger depression).

9. What are the biggest myths about COVID-19?

  • It is a disease for the elderly, Caucasian and Asian folks only,
  • It only thrives in cold climates
  • You are safe as long as you are not having any symptoms
  • If I drink some “home remedies” I will be safe from contracting or transmitting the disease
  • It’s too late to start socially distancing yourself.

We thank Dr Suleiman Makore for his time and generous contribution to educating all of us on the topic of Corona-virus. The ball is now in your court, be a responsible citizen, make sure you do the right thing to avoid spreading the virus. Keep your friends far and your enemies further #stayathomestaysafe.

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