By THE NATION
Professor Dr Prasit Wattanapha, who is also dean of medicine at Mahidol University’s Siriraj Hospital, made the appeal at a conference he hosted.
“One of the main contributing factors in the outbreak is the lack of knowledge about healthcare and the prevention of communicable diseases among people who are at risk of exposure to the virus,” he said.
“If you travel to areas with a high infection rate such as China, Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Iran or Italy, you must quarantine yourself at home for 14 days upon returning and avoid crowds.”
Anyone with a fever, cough or troubled breathing should seek medical treatment immediately and tell the staff if they have travelled abroad recently, he said.
“It is simply socially responsible to disclose all relevant information, since failure to do so might jeopardise your own safety and that of your family and the public.”
During the 14-day self-quarantine, it’s also advisable to avoid shared rooms like the bedroom and bathroom and stay isolated as much as possible, preferably in properly ventilated room.
“Avoid physical contact with family members, especially elders or those with chronic disease. They should keep at least a metre away from you,” he said. “Wear a face mask and wash your hands often, and keep your personal items such as dishes, utensils, water glasses and towels separate from those used by others in the house.”
Stay alert to changes in body temperature – it should be no higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius when checked orally and 37C at the armpit – and any abnormalities in breathing, Prasit said.
Symptoms that appear abruptly such as coughing, a runny nose, a sore throat or increased respiration rate are signals that “you should immediately contact the nearest hospital or call the Department of Disease Control Hotline at 1422”.