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Expert Guidance from Cancer Coach

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Coronavirus Outbreak – ‘What People With Cancer Should Know’

Coronavirus is an outbreak of a respiratory disease that originated in China in late December 2019. It is also recognized as COVID-19. What started in China’s Wuhan has now spread to countries across the globe. Other than China, the worst affected nations are Italy, the United States of America, Iran, and countless others. The latest news report an increase in the death toll across the planet.

Q1. Who is at a higher risk of catching coronavirus?

Anyone can be infected with the coronavirus. WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic because people of all age groups are getting affected. Though most of the death cases include people above the age of 60, it does not imply that the youth are safe. The youngest death has been reported in Panama by a 13-year-old girl. Moreover, little children (below 2 years of age) are also susceptible because of low immunity.

Q2. How does coronavirus spread?

Essentially, it is a virus that spreads when people come in contact with one another. If an infected person is talking to someone else (without a mask) or touching a surface or sharing cutlery, then a non-infected person can also catch the virus. The three principal areas via which it can enter your body are your mouth, eyes, and nose.

Q3. Is it true that cancer patients are highly inclined to get coronavirus?

No scientific data is found that proves that cancer patients are more inclined towards catching coronavirus. But there are possibility. The best way to fight coronavirus is by building a robust immune system. But chemotherapy, organ transplant, and bone-marrow transplants, and some of the Cancer Treatment procedures directly lower your body’s immunity.

Q4. What can a cancer patient do to protect himself from coronavirus?

The best thing is to stay away from people as much as possible. You never know who is infected, and the worst thing is that COVID-19 may take at least five to six days to show symptoms. Avoid contact and always ensure to wear a mask. It is a precautionary step to ensure that you also do not infect anyone else in case you have already caught it..

Q5. What else must you do to protect yourself from coronavirus?

Other than avoiding contact with people, you must ensure that you wash your hand regularly. Do not eat without washing your hands for at least twenty seconds with an antibacterial soap. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and face without any reason. Do not touch random surfaces because you never know who has touched them before you. Maintain physical distance from people. Avoid unnecessarily travel.

Q6. What are the common symptoms of coronavirus that I should look out for?

The most common symptoms of coronavirus include dry cough, cough, consistent fever for at least three to four days, and difficulty in breathing. Do not associate a regular cough with coronavirus because that can lead to panic situation for your family and friends too.

Q7. I am a cancer patient, and coughing is a side-effect I am experiencing. Do I have coronavirus?

No, the worst thing you can do is panic. Instead of associating any regular cough, a result of weather change, with coronavirus, you must understand the difference in cough natures. You must also keep an eye for other symptoms such as headache, body ache, sore throat, shortness of breath, and fever.

Q8. Is it compulsory to wear a face mask if I have cancer?

Yes, it is imperative to wear a face mask because speaking is one of the most common ways of transmitting the disease. The moment people speak, thousands of germs and bacteria escape the mouth. Thus, coronavirus has also spread rapidly. You can find a range of masks online and in medical stores.

Q9. Should I make dietary changes to fight coronavirus?

When you undergo heavy treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, your body loses its immunity. These treatments don’t attack only the cancer cells but also the healthy cells in the body. You must follow a strictly nutritious diet that replenishes the lost energy in your body. Please see Q11 for more information in this regard.

Q10. Is there any particular food item that I should eat to boost my body strength?

National authorities have consistently been asking citizens to avoid eating from outside because you do not know who is procuring the raw materials, cutting them, preparing them, and then delivering to your place. Thus, you should ensure that you eat home-cooked food only for the time being. One excellent source of protein is green lentils. You can make a soup of green lentils by crushing them properly and then add a spoon of fresh cow ghee and a few drops of lemon. It is nutritious as well as healthy. Please see Q11 for more information in this regard.

Q11. What integrative measures should I take to reduce risk of coronavirus?

With the available evidence, we offer the following strategies for you to consider to enhance your immune system to reduce the severity or the duration of a viral infection.

  • Food to increase immunity:
    • Berries
    • Onion
    • Ginger
    • Garlic
    • Turmeric
    • Broccoli
    • Spinach
    • Red bell peppers
    • Mushroom
    • Papaya
    • Citrus fruits (For eg orange, grapefruit, lemon)
    • Apple
    • Kiwi
    • Sunflower seeds, Flax seeds
    • Almonds, Walnuts
    • Green tea
    • Cooked tomatoes
  • Have 5 to 7 servings of vegetables and 2 to 3 servings of fruits daily.
  • Zinc: Typical daily dosage: 15mg to 30mg daily. Protects COVID-19 in upper respiratory tract.
  • Vitamin C: Typical daily dosage: 500mg to 3,000mg daily (higher dosage when acute infection). Shortens the severity of pneumonia and common cold.
  • Sleeping well releases Melatonin that may reduce COVID-19 virulence:
  • People below 64 yrs: Sleep for 7-9 hours.
  • People above 64 yrs: Sleep for 6 hours.
  • Stress management: Meditate, do breathing exercises. Stay away from stress since it disrupts the immune system.
  • Frequently wash hands.
  • Practice physical distancing and stop non-essential travel.
  • Get tested if you develop symptoms.

These are supplemental considerations and not recommendations.

Q12. Should I stop going for chemotherapy in the present coronavirus outbreak?

No one other than your oncologist can tell you whether you must discontinue your chemotherapy sessions or not, in light of the present coronavirus outbreak. You must call them right away and discuss your inhibitions.

Q13. Are hospital venues high on coronavirus transmission possibilities?

Yes, hospitals are flooded with all types of people right now because there is a global state of panic. Though everyone has been advised to stay home and not panic, there is a lot of confusion. You must remember to wear a mask and glove to the hospital, if possible. Avoid contact with people.

Q14. Will the coronavirus outbreak affect my chemotherapy fees?

No, there is no such news yet that the global economic downfall will have any influence on the present medical treatment tariffs. Your hospital can give you more information on this.

Q15. Is it advisable to avoid my oncology checkups till this coronavirus pandemic lasts?

There is no need to fear from other coronavirus patients in the hospital because there is an entirely separate isolated ward for their treatment. However, you must still consult your oncologist before concluding. All you can do right now is to take precautions such as avoid group gatherings, do not touch your face, wear gloves and masks, and use a tissue while coughing. After coughing, please dispose of the napkin in a closed dustbin.


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