Touching eyes and coronavirus

Monday March 23 2020

 

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

How can a person get corona virus through touching their eyes? Shaliita

Dear Shaliita,
The new or novel coronavirus COVID-19 attacks people mainly through the respiratory or breathing system and the nose is the main channel of infection. That said, the respiratory system can also be reached through the mouth and eyes.
Eyes are connected to the nose by a tube called the naso-lacrimal duct which drains excess tears when one cries or has an eye infection. Blockage of the naso-lacrimal duct can lead to tears flowing out of the eyes even without crying.

When one has a common cold, the duct may be blocked from the nose, which is why someone with a serious cold (apart from the germ infecting the eyes as well) may also develop eye symptoms.

Likewise, rubbing the eyes may transfer germs including those that cause a common cold and COVID-19 from the hands to the nose.

It is advised that one washes their hands often and not to touch the face, including eyes apart from avoiding blowing or coughing in the hands but in the elbows to avoid transmitting COVID germs to other others or surfaces which other people are likely to touch.

Advertisement