It's not corona virus

Stop The Stigma! It’s Not Corona Virus

“I can’t freely stay around people again. One sound, eyes pour on you and legs start taking a backward step.”

As she explained her ordeal at my place of work (a health sector), looking for a quick remedy, I watched her with a blend of pity and humour written on my face.

Oh, how people can make one feel like a leper! “Sorry, ma’am.” But the present ravaging Corona Virus is an older brother to leprosy. It’s more than “don’t touch!” Don’t even go close.

But what is this woman’s crime?

Cough. Not whooping cough… Just a cough. She experiences such seasonal coughs even before COVID 19 appeared. Since coughing is a symptom of the dreaded Corona Virus, I understand people’s reactions to her.

But I wish they know what I want to share with you now. They – and you – won’t throw yourself, loved ones and neighbours into panic mode if you know the difference between a Seasonal Allergy (like that of the lady in my story). They could die of heart attack and be wrongly added as the COVID 19 death statistic.

Seasonal Allergy vs Covid 19

The rainy season has started and the incidence of hay fever or what is called “seasonal allergic rhinitis” increases. As plants pollinate there will be more pollen in the air causing the susceptible individuals to start reacting.

The symptoms of this disease can be quite similar to the presently ravaging Covid 19 disease. But they can be differentiated.

The symptoms include – itching of the nose, eyes, excessive sneezing, watery running nose, and postnasal drip (mucus at the back of your throat) and nasal blockage. A constitutional symptom like fever is minimal or low grade.

While the chief symptoms of Covid 19 are fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, and sometimes diarrhea and sore throat. Another early symptom is a loss of sense of smell (anosmia) and a sense of taste(Ageusia).

Some of these symptoms can also occur in environmental (seasonal and perennial) allergies. However, the main differences are in the excessive sneezing, itching, and watery nasal and eye discharge present in Covid 19.

So, don’t label every cough or sneeze “Covid 19.” Of course, ensure your facemask is always on, you wash/sanitize your hands regularly, and observe social-distancing.

Also, remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow. Visit your doctor and get an intervention for your allergy. And don’t allow panic to grab your heart.

Let’s all help each other stay safe, healthy, and alive. No stigmatization.

And even if it’s Covid 19, it’s not a death sentence. Stay positive!

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