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Coronavirus questions

Hydroxychloroquine has been conclusively proven to be ineffective against Covid-19
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Dr Gita Mathai   |   Published 17.03.21, 05:07 AM

I have taken the coronavirus vaccine. Can I still catch Covid-19?

You can still get the coronavirus infection but it will be a mild attack, similar to the flu. However, you still need to wear a mask and wash your hands frequently.

Hydroxychloroquine stock

I had stocked up on 100 tablets of hydroxychloroquine in case anyone in the family got Covid-19. What should I do?

Hydroxychloroquine has been conclusively proven to be ineffective against Covid-19. It works against malaria. It is used for some other diseases as well. Even Donald Trump didn’t take Hydroxychloroquine when he got Covid-19.

You can keep them for use if any of your family members develop malaria or you can donate them to a charitable hospital.

Mask etiquette

I see that many people wear masks only over their mouths, leaving their nose exposed. Is that okay?

The coronavirus lives in the nose. Whenever an infected person or a carrier of the virus breathes or sneezes, droplets are expelled forcefully. The virus enters through the nose too. A mask needs to be worn over the mouth and nose to prevent these particles from reaching others. It will also prevent you from inhaling particles. A mask is worn for the protection of both others as well as yourself, not just because it is mandatory.

Sudden rashes

I break out in itchy red rashes every day and I do not know why.

Allergies cause rashes. It may be a contact allergen from a plant or from your bathing or washing soap. It might be something in the food you ate. It might be due to worm infestation. Don’t scratch. Apply calamine lotion on the itchy areas. Consult a dermatologist for specific treatment.

Child snores

My four-year-old son snores every day. He also drools in his sleep.

Your son might be suffering from enlarged adenoids in the throat. An X-ray of the neck will confirm the diagnosis. Consult a paediatrician and an ENT surgeon — they will be able to advise you.

Cola calories

I drink around three cokes or Pepsis in a day instead of coffee. Will that be very harmful?

A cup of coffee contains around 40 calories, depending on the quantity of milk and sugar. On the other hand, 300ml of a cola drink contains 140 calories, almost all from sugar. So, you have to decide whether you want to restrict your caloric intake.

Tea terms

I prefer green tea but my friends say that herbal tea is healthier. What is the difference?

Green tea is made from Camellia sinensis — the same plant from which black tea is procured. In the process of manufacturing black tea, the leaves and buds undergo withering and oxidation in factories. Green tea does not undergo the oxidation process.

Herbal teas, on the other hand, do not necessarily contain buds or leaves from the Camellia sinensis. They are normally made by soaking various flowers, leaves or spices in hot water. Herbal teas usually do not contain caffeine. They might react with other medications and have unexpected side effects, something green tea does not have.  

The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and the author of Staying Healthy in Modern India. If you have any questions on health issues please write to

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