A Guide on Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Healthspring
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Everything you need to know about Coronavirus

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Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronaviruses are transmitted between animals and people.

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough
  • Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea
  • These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually
  • Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell
  • Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment
  • Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing
  • Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2% of people with the disease have died
  • People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention

Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    • Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    • Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    • Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
    • Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • Follow the guidance outlined above. (Protection measures for everyone)
  • Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.
    • Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
  • If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers.
    • Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

The risk depends on where you live or where you have travelled recently. The risk of infection is higher in areas where a number people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. More than 95% of all COVID-19 cases are occurring in China, with the majority of those in Hubei Province. For people in most other parts of the world, your risk of getting COVID-19 is currently low, however, it’s important to be aware of the situation and preparedness efforts in your area.

People with no respiratory symptoms, such as cough, do not need to wear a medical mask. WHO recommends the use of masks for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and for those caring for individuals who have symptoms, such as cough and fever. The use of masks is crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone (at home or in a health care facility).

WHO advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and misuse of masks Use a mask only if you have respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing), have suspected COVID-19 infection with mild symptoms, or are caring for someone with suspected COVID-19 infection. A suspected COVID-19 infection is linked to travel in areas where cases have been reported, or close contact with someone who has travelled in these areas and has become ill.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to

  • Frequently clean your hands,
  • Cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Get vaccinated to prevent Pneumonia & Flu

FAQs Adult Vaccination

Yes! Vaccinations are available and recommended to protect adults from many infections, including influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease, herpes zoster (shingles), human papillomavirus (HPV), pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. Vaccinations against some less common diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria, and varicella (chickenpox) are also needed by some adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations clearly identify people who are at risk and who should be immunized to prevent these diseases and their complications. Consult your healthcare provider or local health department about your own immunization status as well as current immunization recommendations.

There is no cure for some of these illnesses and all may cause tremendous health problems, disability, and even death. Vaccines are one of the safest medical products available. Vaccines are effective, and can prevent the suffering and costs associated with these preventable diseases.

All adults need tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster vaccines at 10-year intervals throughout their lives. One of the booster vaccines should be Tdap, which includes protection against pertussis, the infection that causes whooping cough.

Adults born after 1956 who are not immune to any one of the following: measles, mumps, or rubella, should get the MMR vaccine.

Women age 26 years and younger and men age 21 and younger should be immunized against HPV, a virus that causes many cancers, including cervical, anal, penile, oral, and throat cancer.

All adults age 65 years or older, as well as adults age 19 to 64 years who smoke or have diabetes or chronic heart, lung, liver, or kidney disorders need protection against pneumococcal disease, and should consult their healthcare providers regarding this vaccine.

Influenza vaccination is recommended annually for all adults.

Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all adults 19 to 59 with diabetes. It is also recommended for any sexually active adult who is not in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship; people whose sex partners are infected with hepatitis B; individuals seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease; men who have sex with men; people who share needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; people who have close household contact with someone infected with hepatitis B; healthcare and public safety workers at risk for exposure to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids on the job; people with end-stage kidney disease; residents and staff of facilities for developmentally disabled persons; travelers to areas with moderate or high rates of hepatitis B infection; people with liver disease; and people with HIV infection.

Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common; people with chronic liver disease; people who have blood clotting-factor disorders such as hemophilia; men who have sex with men; and users of injection and non-injection illegal drugs. Hepatitis A vaccine can also be given to anyone who wants to be immune from infection.

Chickenpox vaccine is recommended for all adults who have not had chickenpox or the vaccine previously.

Meningococcal vaccination is recommended for adults not previously immunized with the meningococcal conjugate vaccine who do not have a functioning spleen, who have terminal complement deficiencies, who will be first year college students, are military recruits or certain laboratory workers, or who will be traveling to or living in countries where meningococcal disease is common.

Adults age 60 years and older should receive a single dose of shingles vaccine whether or not they report a prior episode of shingles. Individuals with chronic medical conditions may be vaccinated unless a contraindication or precaution exists for their condition.

Vaccinations are available from most family doctors, clinics and Hospitals.

Different vaccines are recommended at different ages throughout adulthood—for instance HPV is given at or before age 26 while shingles is given at age 60 or older. Some vaccines are one dose only for most adults (eg, pneumococcal, MMR) while others are a series of vaccines given over a short timespan (eg, HPV is given as three doses over six months). Influenza and Td/Tdap are given regularly throughout adulthood: you need influenza every year and Td once every 10 years, with Tdap in place of one Td booster. The best way to decide exactly what you need and how to get fully immunized is to talk with your doctor or other healthcare provider.

There is no such thing as a risk-free vaccine. However, the health risk of not being vaccinated is real and is clearly greater than that of being vaccinated. Most side effects from vaccinations are mild and limited to local reactions at the injection site and/or a mild fever. Unfortunately, there are rare serious and even fatal side effects related to vaccines. While these events are sad, not taking the vaccine could also result in death or disability.

Simultaneous administration (vaccines given at the same visit but not in the same shot) of most commonly used vaccines does not decrease the response to the vaccines or increase the risk for adverse reactions. The simultaneous administration of vaccines was instituted to increase compliance with recommended immunization schedules. If people have to come back many times to get additional shots, there is an increased chance that they will not get all recommended vaccination.

There are two types of contraindications (reasons not to give a vaccine): permanent and temporary.

  • The following are permanent contraindications to vaccination:
    • Severe allergic reaction to a vaccine component (animal proteins [eggs], antibiotic, stabilizer, or preservative) or following a previous dose of the vaccine;

Encephalopathy within seven days of a pertussis vaccination (not from another identifiable cause). This reaction is very rare since the introduction of acellular pertussis vaccine.

  • The following are precautions/temporary contraindications to vaccination:
    • Pregnancy: Although the risk of vaccination during pregnancy is mostly theoretical, caution is advised. Therefore, women who are known to be pregnant should not receive any of the live vaccines.
    • Inactivated vaccines are considered generally safe during pregnancy and should be used when indicated.
    • Immunosuppression: People with active cancer, leukemia, or lymphoma (or people taking high doses of steroids) should not receive live vaccines but can receive inactivated vaccines.
    • HIV: Vaccination depends on the severity of the illness. In asymptomatic (without symptoms) individuals, many vaccines are considered safe. In general, the inactivated vaccines are safe for both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals infected with HIV
    • Moderate to severe illness: If someone is ill with more than a simple cold, earache, diarrhea or other minor illness, vaccination should be postponed until the illness is over.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site for vaccines and immunizations at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/index.html. This is updated annually in the fall of the year.
  • Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: The Pink Book: Course Textbook Updated 13th Edition (May 2015) at < href='https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/index.html' target='_blank'>https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/index.html
  • Recommendations on immunization for health care workers at http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2017.pdf
  • http://www.immunize.org/
  • http://www.immunizationed.org/
  • Traveler information: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

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