COVID-19 variants: New symptoms and precautions

The COVID-19 related health crisis is critical in India as it is elsewhere in the world. The authorities are leave ng no stones unturned to contain the surge in new cases, which are increasing daily at an alarming rate. There is a widespread concern among the authorities and general public alike regarding the spurt in COVID-19 cases. Making the scenario worse is the general perception that the spike is due to new strains of COVID-19 virus. Also Read – COVID-19: What Is The Current Status Of Clinical Trials On Herbal Immunity Boosters?

No concrete evidence that spike in cases due to new variants

Two new strains of SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 causing virus have been detected in India. This was disclosed by the Union Health Ministry. These are N440K and E484K. While making public this discovery, the government made it clear that it was not possible to link the spike in cases to the new variants. In his press conference, Dr V.K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, had said: “The two variants in Maharashtra were also detected in March and July (last year)…there was no effect back then. But to say anything definitive about its correlation to (rise in) cases this time is not possible at present.” He added that the variants had been detected in labs of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG). Also Read – All Adults Over 18 Eligible To Receive Covid-19 Vaccine Staring May 1: Government

New variants present in other countries too

Making a pertinent observation, Professor Balram Bhargava, the Director-General of Indian Council of Medical Research, (ICMR), pointed out that the new variants have been seen in other countries too and hence can’t be labelled as Indian variants of the virus. In fact, there are many other variants in the world, including India. It needs to be understood that the new variants come into being due to the natural process of mutation. Vaccines will help in combating them but it is essential and primary is to take precautions. These are easy to follow and will help in curbing the spread. Also Read – Lockdown Imposed In Delhi From Tonight Amid COVID-19 Surge: Here’s What’s Allowed, What’s Shut

New symptoms that have emerged

According to Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, “We are seeing new COVID-19 strain, and some newer symptoms are found in patients like fever, pain in muscles, dry and persistent cough, and loss of smell and taste. In addition to conjunctivitis, sore throat, headache, rashes, upset stomach, and discolouration of fingers and toes.”

Precautions against new variants

While researchers suggest that new COVID-19 strains may not be very dangerous, it becomes important to keep oneself safe. Here is a list of precautions to take to reduce risk.

  • All precautions must be followed strictly and don’t leave your home without gloves and masks.
  • Replace gloves and masks used outside regularly.
  • Use masks made of the right type of fabric with layers and which fit well like a tight-fitting surgical mask. Alternatively, wear two masks. Ensure that it seals properly above the nose and around the chin.
  • Sanitisation of hands is a must. Wash hands frequently and sue hand sanitisers.
  • Never sneeze or cough in the open. Use tissues or handkerchiefs. Was the latter well after use.
  • On experiencing symptoms like cough, fever, breathlessness, or loss of sense of taste or smell, stop attending office and meeting people and get medical advice. Inform whoever you came into contact with, alert them to take steps like isolation and medical help.
  • Protect yourself and your family with barrier protection.
  • Don’t indulge in leisurely shopping for necessities and limit onsite shopping. Every minute spent shopping indoors increases your risk.
  • If possible, work from home and in case unavoidable, adhere to socially distancing at work. Have virtual meetings.
  • Studies have shown that mouthwashes can help to kill the novel coronavirus in the mouth and keep it from entering your lungs and the rest of the body. Ensure good and proper oral hygiene to be safe.

(With inputs from IANS)

Published : April 16, 2021 2:45 pm | Updated:April 16, 2021 2:50 pm