Non Communicable Diseases and Covid-19 : Part One

Non Communicable Diseases and Covid-19


Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans. They usually cause upper respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose, although some can cause more serious illness. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease that was identified in late 2019 and was declared a pandemic on March 11.

Coronaviruses like COVID-19 are most often spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching and shaking hands) or through touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.



Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are ill.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched. SOURCE @WHO


1. Older people, and people with preexisting conditions (such as heart diseases, diabetes, respiratory conditions) appear to be more susceptible to becoming severely ill with the virus.

2. People with pre-existing non-communicable diseases (NCDS) also appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. These NCDS include: heart and vein diseases i.e. hypertension and stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases ie Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)


Any kind of tobacco smoking is harmful to the bodily systems, including the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. COVID-19 can also harm these systems. Information from China, where COVID-19 originated, shows that people who have cardiovascular and respiratory conditions caused by tobacco use, or otherwise, are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Tobacco has a huge impact on respiratory health. The link between tobacco use and lung cancer is well-established, with tobacco use being the most common cause of lung cancer. Further, tobacco causes the swelling and rupturing of the air sacs in the lungs, which reduces the lung’s capacity to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, and the build-up of mucus, which results in painful coughing and breathing difficulties. This may have implications for smokers, given that smoking is considered to be a risk factor for any lower respiratory tract infection and the virus that causes COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, often causing mild to severe respiratory damage. However, given that COVID-19 is a newly identified disease, the link between tobacco smoking and the disease has yet to be established.



-Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth. Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase risk of serious illness

– Smoking products such as water pipes often involve the sharing of mouth pieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings.

– Conditions that increases oxygen needs or reduces the ability of the body to use it properly will put patients at higher risk of the consequences of bilateral viral pneumonia



Last week at least 44 people have died in Iran due to alcohol poisoning as they believed myths about alcohol’s properties to kill the coronavirus. Don’t ingest alcohol, but use it for hygiene – Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth).

alcohol weakens the immune system. This matters for everyone who belongs to a high-risk group. But it also matters for everyone else who wants to make sure – and rightly so – to stay as healthy as possible. – Scientists have known for a long time that alcohol consumption is associated with negative health effects related to the immune system. – Some of the connections that matter especially in the context of the coronavirus pandemic are:

• Susceptibility to pneumonia,

• Greater likelihood of acute respiratory stress syndromes (ARDS), and

• Slower and less complete recovery from infections due to alcohol use. – Importantly, alcohol consumption does not have to be chronic to have negative health consequences for the immune system.



– Proper nutrition and hydration are vital. People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. So you should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants your body needs. Drink enough water. Avoid sugar, fat and salt.

– Eat at home to reduce your rate of contact with other people and lower your chance of being exposed to COVID-19. We recommend maintaining a distance of at least 1 metre between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. – That is not always possible in crowded social settings like restaurants and cafes. – Droplets from infected people may land on surfaces and people’s hands (e.g. customers and staff), and with lots of people coming and going, you cannot tell if hands are being washed regularly enough, and surfaces are being cleaned and disinfected fast enough.


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