In December 2019, a deadly virus struck China. The virus not only paralyzed the country but also threatened the regions around it. The virus spread through chain reactions affecting anyone in the path or in its vicinity. As it was a disease unknown to man, several researches, experiments and attempts were made to find the cure for it. However, all that specialists could find out were its origin and the preventive measures that should be taken. This epidemic, by the World Health Organization (WHO), has been named “COVID -19” and is widely known as “Coronavirus”.
From December, the virus has spread to several countries both inside and outside of Asia. Till date, the virus has been responsible for more than thirty thousand infections in China and more than two thousand deaths. There have also been a few cases that have been reported in India. Hence, like the popular adage goes “Prevention is better than cure”, we at HealthifyMe would like to make sure that every one of us is hale and healthy. Therefore, we would like to coax you to read below to know more about this deadly virus and how we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from it.
- What is Coronavirus and how does it spread?
- What are the symptoms when affected by Coronavirus?
- Precautions to take
- Frequently asked questions
What is Coronavirus and how does it spread?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that typically cause respiratory symptoms. This virus is Zoonotic, which means the disease can be transferred between animals and humans. It belongs to the same class of virus that has caused several outbreaks globally, like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). As per research, it is believed that Coronavirus spreads through the secretory fluids of the respiratory system of an infected person. It commonly spreads when an infected person sneezes, coughs or exhales the infected respiratory droplet. Shaking hands or even touching the infected person or by touching the objects or surface that has been contaminated can act as the carriers of disease and get you infected by it. Current estimates of the incubation period (the period between the infection and the emergence of symptoms) for Coronavirus ranges from 1 to 14 days with the median of 5-6 days. However, more data is required to have more precise and refined information.
What are the symptoms when affected by Coronavirus?
From the data that has been revealed, symptoms of Coronavirus infection vary from individual to individual. It can range from no symptoms to milder forms to even fatal forms.
When infected, the initial symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
When the symptoms have worsened, it can give rise to:
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
- Septic shock
Which needs immediate intervention
Although it is hard to say which age or community group is more prone to the infection, in terms of vulnerability a person
- Who comes in close/direct contact with the infected person
- Has chronic disease condition like heart disorders, liver diseases, diabetes, and respiratory issues)
- Children and older adults,
Precautions to Take
Organizations like WHO have given standard recommendations to minimize the chances of infection.
- Avoid outside exposure to suspected areas and infected people
- Wash hands with soap and water. Also, it is advisable to use an alcohol-based sanitizer (Recommended brands include- Lifebuoy: Immunity Boosting hand Sanitizer/Dettol: Original Instant Hand Sanitizer)
- Keep your hands and fingers away from nose, eyes, and mouth. By doing so, you will eliminate the chances of the virus spreading if it is on your hands.
- Cleaning houses and surfaces with ethanol or chlorine-based disinfectants is advised
- Thorough washing and cooking of meat before consuming is advised
- While stepping out, make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a mask. Here take a look at how you should wear a mask and the right way to dispose of it.
The detection of Coronavirus is done via respiratory and blood specimens. WHO has released several detection protocols for lab testing, and the results are generally available within a few hours to a few days. Seek help if you have worked with or around 2019-nCoV infected person or suspected areas like workplace or healthcare center. You are suffering from acute respiratory issues like fever, runny nose, cough, and difficulty breathing for more than 10 days.
At present, there is no specific treatment, or a vaccine, to treat Coronavirus infection. The scientists from various backgrounds- epidemiology, virology, and biomedical sciences, are working together to come up with an effective solution as fast as possible.
As of now, the typical medical regimen focuses on relieving the symptoms and providing optimized supportive care to one with severe illnesses.
One can make sure to get relief from symptoms by:
- Taking proper rest
- Lots of fluids
- Taking counter- medicines for common flu-like symptoms like body pain, cough, and fever.
Make sure that if the symptoms persist for long, to go and see the doctor immediately.
Frequently asked questions
A. The complete clinical picture with regards to Coronavirus is still not fully clear. Cases that have been reported have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. It has been reported by CDC, that the symptoms of Coronavirus may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. As things are not yet clear, it is advised that everyone take the precautionary measures that have been mentioned.
A. Travelling to infected places must be avoided. However, if travel plans cannot be altered, advanced bilateral communications, coordination,and planning with the concerned authorities should be done.
A. Those who have been exposed to people affected with the virus and those ill with respiratory symptoms are most likely to get infected. Like all people suffering illness, patients who may be affected by this virus should be treated with compassion. We should all work to prevent actions that could perpetuate a stigma attached to the virus or appear to be targeted at people from other countries living in our communities.
A. There is no evidence that pets like cats and dogs can be infected with the Coronavirus. It’s always a good idea to wash hands after touching pets to avoid other bacteria though.
A. As a best practice, extreme personal hygiene like washing of hands thoroughly after being in public and avoiding touching the face, eyes or ear lobes can help in staying safe from some viruses and bacteria.