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'What's the difference between common cold and coronavirus?'

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Last updated on: March 14, 2020 08:15 IST
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'Do animals spread Coronavirus to humans?'

'What special care should senior citizens take?'

'How to protect children from COVID19?'


'How long does it take for symptoms to show?'

'Are ginger and giloy effective against Coronavirus?'

Cardiologist K K Aggarwal, former president of Indian Medical Association, and president of the Heart Care Foundation, answered these and many other readers' queries on coronavirus, in an online chat on March 13.

This is the unedited chat transcript:

How to prevent coronavirus from spreading

IMAGE: Girls wear protective masks in the wake of the deadly coronavirus in New Delhi, India.Photograph: Courtesy ANI

Shubhadeep Chattopadhyay: Dear Sir Is medical spirit as effective as an alcohol based sanitizer for washing hands to eliminate the virus from surface. Kindly suggest as sanitizers are in scarcity at nearby chemists. Regards

Dr KK Aggarwal:: Any > 60% alcohol is effective

Sunny: Sir why our scientist from global forum have not been able to introduce antidote for the Corona virus till date?

Dr KK Aggarwal: New virus, clinical trials need 2 years to develop a new drug or new vaccine.

Swastik Castings Jaipur: i never go in crowd area. Should i be worried?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Only mass gatherings are to be avoided today. > 1000 people gathering. Rest just avoid people with fever and cough. You have a right to ask in any gathering if anyone has fever and cough to walk out.

Ujwal Vare: Does India is prepared to fight it seriously as in India no hygiene & illiteracy is too common?

Dr KK Aggarwal: China had only 50 people affected per million populations. China has shown the way. With learnt lessons we will be able to manage it much better even if China repeats in India.

Kadiyala Subrahmanyam: How to differentiate between common cold & Corona virus?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Cough and cold is allergy; cough cold and fever is flu; fever cough and breathlessness is corona like illness.

Ajmer SINGH: Hello Sir, I am Andaman Islands, my son has to travel to Indore passing two airports to write JEE main exam as they refuse to change exam centre, should I be worried?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Not at the moment. Keep a safe distance of one meter in the exam centre.

Mayank Mehta: Sir, we are hardly finding any Sanitizer and N95 Mask in local chemist. What to do? Is it available online?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Use soap and water. General public does not need masks. N 95 are only for doctors to protect from TB and other respiratory diseases. Masks are required only by people with cough and fever.

Randeev Mehta: Are animals responsible for COVID-19 in people?

Dr KK Aggarwal: As per WHO there is no evidence. First case occurred with which animal is not known. It is sure that it has similarity to a bat virus. The Hong Kong dog which was shown to have weak positive test is asymptomatic.

It's a respiratory infection. Eating meat cannot cause it. It cannot infect the animals and animal cannot give it to humans as per WHO. But first case did come from one animal, which one?

No, they cannot get it or transmit, as on today.

N Nath: How to protect children?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Teach them all aspects of hygiene. Teach them mnemonic SUMAN K: seedha ulta mutthi anghuta nakhoon and kalai movements.

Naresh Chandra Mistry: What precautions are must to avoid new coronavirus?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Respiratory hygiene, coughs etiquette, hand wash, avoid meeting people with cough and cold, avoiding mass gatherings till corona impact is there.

Hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and avoid meeting people with fever and cough.

Avoid close contact with people with fever and cough. Maintain hygiene

Suresh Khanna: Doctor Sahib Please advise what special care Sr Citizens must take in this epidemic especially people above 70?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Give elderly people flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, avoid meeting in public, do not allow people with fever and cough to come home and meet the, decontaminate surfaces daily.

CHANDAN NANDI: What precautions take while nursing a woman age 85 years?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Good nutrition, make sure she has annual flu and pneumonia vaccine, avoid exposure to people with cough and fever. Hand wash regularly.

rajesh kumar: What is the symptom after which I should definitely consult a doctor?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Fever, tiredness, and dry cough (most common corona like illness); only cough (pollution), cough and cold (allergy), fever with sore throat in children (streptococcal), fever above 100.4 with cough and cold flu (flu), fever with cough and breathlessness (corona like illness), cough > 2 weeks rule out TB.

Prabhat Mishra: Does increment in temperature kills the virus. Or it is a rumour?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Hot and humid may kill.

Dananjaypuri: Dr Aggarwal, does a COVID-19 infected person dies because of lung failure? What organs does this novel corona virus affect? Also, can this virus survive inside the body of a dead person?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Multi organ failure

Dhiren Shah: How safe is Air Travel right now?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Airports may transmit much more than the air travel. If has to travel prefer window seat.

Dhiren Shah: Some are saying taking vitamin supplements like VIT C and VIT D can help keep this virus away from attacking our immune system. How true is that?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Vitamins intake cannot fight the virus, but if you are vitamin deficient virus may harm you more.

RAJU GARAD: If you are infected by corona virus today, within how many days you will know you are infected?

Dr KK Aggarwal: Mean time to symptoms 5 days; Mean time to pneumonia 9 days; Mean time to death 14 days; Mean time to CT changes 4 days, 3-4 reproductive number R0  (flu 1.2 and SARS 2), epidemic doubling time 7.5 days (Korea 1 day probably due to super-spreader), Tripling time in Korea 3 days.

Gnair: Can we watch movies in theatres since WHO has termed corona virus as pandemic?

Dr KK Aggarwal: DELHI HAS BANNED IT, avoid mass gatherings, cinema is classified as mass gathering, if one person has disease it will go to hundreds of people. Watch movies at home.

Subhash vipin B: Sir, this corona has created an anxiety and tension among all people. Even if there is a general cough & cold, people are being looked upon. How can we differentiate, what is the basic precautionary measure to be taken? I have been asked to use sanitizer wherever i go, will that also create a problem because of overuse.

Dr KK Aggarwal: Fear of being separated from loved ones and caregivers due to quarantine; refusal to take care of unaccompanied or separated minors; refusal to take care of people with disabilities or elderly because of their high-risk nature; feeling of helplessness; feeling of boredom; feeling of depression due to being isolated; stigmatization of being positive infection; possible anger and aggression against government; unnecessary approaching the courts, possible mistrust on information provided by government; relapses of mental illness in already mentally-ill patients; overstress on people to cover work of infected colleagues, Quarantined for 14 days and insufficient or incomplete information leading to myths and fake news

mahesh dube: Sir, my daughter aged 12 yrs. has dry cough from the past 10 days. She is taking Syrup Tuspel TD. Can you suggest a better option since everyday she has to go to school?

Dr KK Aggarwal: It's a pain killer and anti-fever drug. For dry cough you can do gargles and steam inhalation.

Venkateshwar Simhadri: Sir what type of mask we should use while travelling within India thru airlines. E.g. Delhi to Hyd?

Dr KK Aggarwal: No mask needed if you have no fever or cough.

RAJNISH ARORA: AYUSH DEPARTMENT OF GOI suggested homeo medicine "Arsenic Album 30" -3- doses empty stomach as preventive medicine against Corona, Is it helpful??

Dr KK Aggarwal: Not for corona but has been good for any flu.

N Nath: Are Giloy and Ginger helpful?

Dr KK Aggarwal: not for corona, they are normally good for health.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for antiemetic efficacy in various situations that can produce nausea and vomiting (eg: postoperative, chemotherapy, motion sickness, pregnancy). The majority of studies show ginger to be more effective than placebo, although safety in pregnancy has not been adequately proven.

Giloy is Ayurveda immune booster.

Mayank Agrawal: Dear Sir, I am having productive coughing, Cold and Cough, I have taken Awex D syrup+ 5 days amoxicillion dose as per my physian, still I am suffering from cold and cough, is this the symptom of corona? Please let us know, I also do not having breathing problem but coughing regularly.

Dr KK Aggarwal: its flu, no antibiotics are needed, takes 1-2 weeks to recover.

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Dr K K Aggarwal
The War Against Coronavirus

The War Against Coronavirus