For the first Q&A with Dr Leong please click here.

Good practices and lifestyle changes

Q1: Can I catch COVID-19 from a healthcare worker's clothes?

Healthcare workers are trained professionals. In the hospital, they are gowned up with protective equipment. What they wear underneath would be kept clean.

Q2: Should I be worried about my medical appointment at the hospital?

The chances of picking up COVID-19 at the hospital is low. Make an appointment to see your doctor. Stick to your schedule, go for the appointment and come back quickly.

Q3: What lessons can we learn from this outbreak?

Whether it’s COVID-19 or influenza, we should use our common sense. Things like using a serving spoon, not sharing utensils or tooth brush, and so on. Even when we do cough, the virus may still be inside the tissue, so roll it up and discard it into a bin.

Q4: Why shouldn't we doctor-hop?

When you doctor-hop, the doctor may fail to appreciate the gravity of your case if you have been infected and the changes in you as the disease progresses.

Q5: What other tips do you have?

Take note of your mobile phone which we use so regularly. Clean it with a piece of alcohol wipe, at least three times a day. Avoid shaking hands. Try alternatives like a good wave or a simple bow.

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Advice for parents and children

Q1: Should my child avoid extracurricular activities, like dance class?

If precautionary measures like temperature-taking and checks for respiratory symptoms are taken, it is ok. The chances of getting the virus are low. Go for the class and enjoy yourself.

Q2: What about birthday parties and playgrounds?

It all boils down to the same thing: We need to be responsible. The organiser of the event will need to check with the individual children if he is well, or does he have respiratory symptoms or a fever. If any of these exist, the child should be excluded and should only participate the next time round when he’s feeling better.

Q3: Can I contract COVID-19 from swimming?

No. Contact with water would kill the virus. Adequately chlorinated water in pools is known to kill most respiratory viruses.­­­

Q4: What are some precautions schools have in place?

Schools have put in place many measures, such as temperature-taking. They have also cancelled assemblies and outdoor activities. Children are effectively only exposed to their own classmates.

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When will the epidemic end?

Q1: How different is COVID-19 from SARS and H1N1?

In SARS, we saw a lot of transmissions and about 15 per cent of deaths. For H1N1, it was very rapid transmissions, but deaths were much lower. In COVID-19, we see a mix. Transmission is probably more effective than H1N1, and deaths are slightly higher than influenza but much lower than SARS.

Q2: Will the coming warmer weather make a difference?

We realise from SARS studies that the virus does not like hot weather and humidity. As the months get warmer and more humid, the survival of the virus will be poorer, resulting in poorer transmission person to person.

Q3: Will shutting off the aircon and opening the windows help?

This is a great, energy efficient way to reduce infection risks. The humidity and warmer air will protect you against the virus.

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