How is coronavirus spread?

Monday February 24 2020


By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Can coronavirus be spread through money?


Dear Shallita,
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause a common cold and other upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new coronavirus (now named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)) that has not previously been seen in humans. However, just like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), this virus is thought to have originated from animals.
The virus may be spread from person-to-person when people are in close contact with one another and then an infected person coughs or sneezes and the infected droplets land in the mouths, noses or eyes of uninfected people or after breathing in the droplets.
The virus can also be spread when an infected person touches surfaces such as door knobs or tables or even money used by an infected person.
Touching the money or licking fingers while counting money touched by an infected person and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes can also cause infection since the virus can survive on surfaces and money for weeks.
Therefore, you should wash your hands often, especially after shaking another person’s hands, touching or counting money and as much as possible avoid touching their faces. Disinfecting money can also help.

Can swallowing mucus make your stomach sick?
Nowadays, I get sticky mucus in the throat which I cough out. However, when I swallow it, I get throat and stomach pain. Why?


Dear Amos,
A build-up of mucus in the throat could result from a throat, stomach or a sinus problem. A person with a sinus inflammation may get mucus flowing through the back of the throat (post nasal drip) causing throat discomfort.
Mucus can also build up directly from the throat because of a throat irritation due to an allergic reaction or reaction to smoke if one smokes or when one consumes very cold food or drinks.
Also, a throat infection or acid reflux can cause an irritation and pain in the throat resulting in a protective build-up of mucus requiring one to cough it out.
It is advised that when mucus builds up in the throat, it should be coughed out and disposed off properly instead of spitting it out on the streets or surfaces to avoid infecting other people. Also, swallowing mucus risks one getting tuberculosis of the alimentary canal apart from intestinal worms among other conditions.
Please visit your doctor, preferably an ear nose and throat specialist for help. If you are a cigarette smoker or take overly chilled drinks and foods, please desist from doing so.


What causes nose bleeding?
Whenever I bleed through the nose I also vomit blood. Why?

Taata Ento

Dear Taata Ento,
When the area at the back of the nose is damaged or when one’s nose is bleeding due to a problem such as high blood pressure, the back part of the nose may bleed and some blood may flow into the stomach.
Increasingly, however, blood may reach the stomach if one bleeds from either the back or front of the nose but chooses to lie on his back.
Blood may irritate the stomach leading to stomach pain and vomiting this very blood, creating fear of serious bleeding ulcers. Also, the upper areas of the stomach may get mild bleeding cuts due to forceful vomiting (Mallory weis syndrome) which on its own may not be harmful. Bend forward while nasal bleeding and hold the nose while breathing through the mouth until bleeding is arrested.

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