The new type of virus called Coronavirus (COVID-19) which originated from Wuhan, China is causing a massive global concern. It is causing loss to human lives and billions of dollars of damage in healthcare and other business sectors. It has now spread to almost all countries since it was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
So, what is a Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a type of virus that is usually found in animals but sometimes it can be transmitted to humans as well. In the past, we have encountered similar strands of Coronaviruses such as SARS, MERS that attack the respiratory systems. The virus usually damages the organs and cells responsible for proper functioning of the respiratory system, causing diseases such as pneumonia and other kinds of respiratory problems.
What are the symptoms? How can you know that I am infected with Coronavirus?
The symptoms of coronavirus are rather generic such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and shortness of breath. Which is why sometimes people ignore these symptoms thinking of them as generic fever or cold-like situations. The symptoms, however, can differ from person to person. The stronger the immune system is, the milder the symptoms are; in case of weak immune systems, this virus can also cause pneumonia and bronchitis. Even though pneumonia and bronchitis are usually not caused by viruses, the virus depletes the immune system to enable other pathogens and bacteria to proliferate. The Symptoms of Coronavirus are more severe in people of old age and those who have underlying issues (those who might have weak immune systems).
How does COVID-19 spread?
The origin of the virus is yet unknown, although, it has been believed that the virus came from bats. Unfortunately, once the virus enters the human body, it can very easily spread from one person to another. The scary part is this type of virus can spread very rapidly in the community, which means, one person can infect many other people at a time.
How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
If you believe that you may have come in contact with someone who has been infected, or if you are showing symptoms (no matter how mild they are), call your doctor immediately. It is strongly recommended to get yourself checked at the doctor’s office, and be properly diagnosed for the disease. The doctor should be able to suggest the right steps forward in case you have been diagnosed positive. Owing to the present conditions, many countries start the quarantine process as soon as someone is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Is there any treatment or vaccine?
Unfortunately, there is no approved vaccine or treatment for this virus, yet. There have been many speculations regarding the development of its vaccine, but none of them have made it to the general public for distribution purpose. Many countries are coming together to develop the vaccines, however, there have been no confirmed cases of having developed the vaccine for the virus.
How dangerous or fatal is it?
In terms of symptoms, the COVID-19 is just like the flu but with a higher fatality rate. The fatality rate may differ from country to country, but it has been found that the fatality rate is higher among older people as compared to other age groups. This is directly related to their (old age) underlying health conditions and weaker immune systems.
How to protect yourself from COVID-19?
There are various guidelines published by WHO and there may also have been various guidelines and protocols set by your country of residence. It is best to follow those guidelines and listen to the healthcare professionals on how to take the necessary steps in terms of precautions, isolation, and quarantine procedures. We will list down some of the common but most effective activities that we can keep in mind to protect ourselves from COVID-19.
Wash hands regularly and avoid physical contact, especially shaking hands
The Coronavirus spreads through one person to another but also from touching infected surfaces or objects. Washing hands regularly inhibits the entry of the virus into our body (because unknowingly we use our hands to touch our nose and mouth or eyes through which the virus may enter our body). Even though this is the most basic thing in terms of keeping hygiene, it is also the most effective In This Fight against Coronavirus. It is recommended that you wash your hands with plenty of soap and water for at-least 20 seconds.
Avoid shaking hands with people, whether or not they are infected. No matter how clean you are or how clean your hands might be, you can easily get infected by the virus from another person. Do not touch your mouth or nose if you feel like your hand may have been dirty. Do not take chances as you never know when you might have possibly been infected.
Stay home if you’re sick. Practice social distancing.
If you are not well, first of all, you need to visit the doctor. Even if you are not diagnosed with Coronavirus and are feeling a little under the weather, you should avoid going out at all cost. Do not travel. Avoid traveling as much as possible. You can postpone your plans or resolve the matters through online meetings or other ways, instead of traveling.
Traveling increases your chance of contracting Coronavirus drastically. And if you are a carrier of Coronavirus, you are also risking others who might be unaware of your situation.
Avoid sharing personal stuff, even household items
Do not share items like drinking glasses, dishes, towels, plates and tissues. Even within household, it is advised to wash them properly after using.
Use face masks and hand sanitizers
If you wash your hands regularly then you may not need to use hand sanitizers frequently. But in situations where you cannot wash your hands, you can rub alcohol-based hand sanitizers to kill the germs on your hands before and after touching outside surfaces and objects. You never know what might still be infected with the virus. It is also good to wear face mask to avoid entry or exhalation of infected droplets from coughing sneezing etc.