Coronavirus is currently terrorizing many countries around the world. To avoid the spread and contraction of the disease, many countries have sopped flights. With death rates increasing each day and new cases emerging, you would like to know more about the problem. This article discusses in detail the problem and enlightens you with the precautions you need to take for dealing with the problem effectively.
It belongs to the family of viruses triggering the common cold, MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). At the end of 2019, China reported the outbreak caused by a new coronavirus. It is creating havoc as it has spread from China to several countries around the world. The virus triggers severe complications and results in death. The disease caused due to the virus is referred to as COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) and the virus triggering it is known as SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). The disease is now monitored by different public health groups like the WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in the US. You can check the regular updates on the official sites of these organizations.
History Of Coronavirus
Researchers first identified the virus by isolating it in 1937. The researchers found the virus responsible for infectious bronchitis in the virus. So, it resulted in the devastation of poultry stocks. In the 1960s, scientists discovered the evidence of human coronaviruses (HCoV) in people suffering from the common cold. People who suffered from common cold had the presence of two HCoVs:
You may wonder how the virus got its name. The name comes from the appearance of the virus. Corona in Latin means crown or halo. The virus under a microscope appears with a crown-like projection on its surface. HCoV infections occur during the early spring and winter months. The season triggers the illness. So, people become ill due to the common cold caused by HCoV. Humans can catch the same virus after four months. It is because the antibodies formed in the body to prevent the virus does not last for a long time. Also, the antibodies for one strain of the virus may not seem effective to prevent another strain.
Types Of Coronavirus
Different types of HCoV can affect people. Coronavirus belongs to the family of Coronaviridae. It comes under the subfamily of Coronavirinae. Various types of HCoV can trigger different reactions in people. The severity of the disease and its spread also depends on the type of virus that affects a person. Scientists have detected seven types of HCoV triggering issues in people. They include:
- Alpha Coronavirus (229E and NL63)
- Beta Coronavirus (OC43 and HKU1)
- MERS-CoV (Triggering MERS)
- SARS-CoV (Triggering SARS)
- SARS-CoV-2 (The dangerous new strain causing COVID-19)
In most of the cases, people around the world suffer from infection caused due to HCoVs like HKU1, 229E, OC43, and NL63. It does not cause serious complications and you can manage it effectively. But, certain coronaviruses can cause infection in animals first and evolve to make other people sick. These viruses are rare and trigger severe complications. These viruses develop into a new form of strain to cause complications. The recent examples include MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV).
Transmission Of Coronavirus
While it is not clear how HCoV spreads from one person to another, researchers suggest it transmits with close contact. When you come in contact with fluids or mucus (from the respiratory system). So, scientists suggest it spreads in the following ways:
- The virus can spread from the droplets dispersed into the air when an infected person coughs and sneezes without covering the mouth.
- Close skin contact like touching or shaking hands with someone infected by the virus. Skin contact can result in the passing of viruses between individuals.
- Coming in contact with an object surface with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Animal coronaviruses like FCoV (Feline coronavirus) has a different transmission mode. It spreads by coming in contact with feces from infected animals. But, it is not clear if the transmission mode is applicable for HCoV.
Transmission Of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
Since COVID-19 has come under the high risk of diseases group published by the WHO, you need to get more information regarding the disease. The NIH (National Institute of Health) suggests people coming under certain criteria face the highest risk of developing complications due to COVID-19. So, the groups facing the risk include:
- Young children
- Older people (Above 65 years or older)
- Pregnant women
Any strain of different coronaviruses can cause infection in people at some point in their lifetime. While most strains may not cause severe complications, some can result in fatal results. But, these viruses are contagious due to their ability to mutate effectively. So, it can transmit to others and cause complications. So, to prevent transmission, people need to self-quarantine and stay at home. Resting and avoiding any social function can prevent the disease from spreading to others. Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue while sneezing or coughing is not just a good habit, but also prevents any spread of the virus. Maintain proper hygiene to prevent any virus-related problems.
More About Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
Most of you would have read the news regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. It has transformed into a global epidemic with several thousands of people losing their life due to the illness. The first cases of the virus occurred during the late last year in Wuhan province of China. Since then, more than 110,000 people in China have an infection with more than three thousand deaths due to the disease. Official reports still remain unclear regarding the total number of death. To avoid spreading, hundreds of millions of people are placed in lockdown and several others face travel restrictions. By late 2019, CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) started monitoring the virus caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causing respiratory illness.
The WHO has declared the infection as a public health emergency due to its presence in more than 100 countries around the world. While it started in China, the disease has now spread to developed and developing countries around the world. The countries, which have suffered the worst due the disease include:
- South Korea
Symptoms Associated With Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
The information regarding the virus suggests it triggers respiratory conditions. It can cause serious problems in children, older people, and pregnant women. In most cases, the risk increased with age. The symptoms associated with COVID-19 differs from one person to another. Some people may see no symptoms. But, they suffer from the illness and without medical intervention, they face death. Other can see signs like:
After getting the virus from an infected person, it may take two to fourteen days to see symptoms associated with the infection.
Coronavirus Stages Of Severity
Depending on the stage of severity of COVID-19, you can determine the outcome of the disease. Some people are prone to the problem compared to others. So, people with an existing medical condition (like heart or lung problem) and people who are older face a high risk of the disease. The severity can range from mild to severe.
More than 80% of the people suffering from COVID-19 have a mild form of the disease. With proper care and management, a person suffering from the mild disease can recover.
If you experience breathlessness or suffer from pneumonia, then you have severe disease. Around 14% of the infected population suffers from a severe form of the disease. Get treatment immediately and avoid spreading disease by isolating yourself from others.
Around 5% of the infected people face critical symptoms like multiple organ failure (kidney or other vital organs), respiratory failure, or septic shock. It increases the chances of dying in patients.
You have less chance of recovering from the infection when you reach the stage. In infected people, 2% suffer from fatal complications.
Consulting A Doctor For COVID-19
People who live in coronavirus outbreak hit areas or have traveled recently to a country suffering from the problem, then they need to see a doctor right away. Several countries have organized testing at the airport to ensure people who have arrived at the place have no infection. It is important to follow the guidelines suggested by the health officials at the airport to prevent the spreading of the disease. If you feel you have the symptoms due to coming in contact with an infected person, then call your doctor. You need to inform beforehand regarding your doubts to ensure proper diagnosis without increasing the risk of spreading the disease. It is important to become responsible and take measures to avoid spreading the disease to others. So, never venture in public places or attend any function with a huge crowd gathering.
Causes Of Coronavirus 2019
The first outbreak occurred in China. The people who suffered from the infection had links to the seafood and animal market. Therefore, scientists consider that virus transmission occurred from animals to humans. But, people recently affected have no exposure to seafood or animal market. Therefore, the transmission occurred between humans. The virus can spread from one person to another, making it highly contagious.
So, people who come in close contact with an infected person can acquire the infection. It can occur when respiratory droplets spread from an infected person to others when they cough or sneeze. The virus can stay on a hard surface for a long time. From the surface, it transfers to your hand and finally enters your body through eyes, nose or mouth.
Risk Factors Associated With Coronavirus 2019
COVID-19 can affect anyone. But, the risk factors making you susceptible to the infection are:
- People who have traveled recently or reside in an area experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 determined by the WHO or CDC (you check the official website to check the countries suffering from the outbreak).
- Close contact with COVID-19 infected people like close family members or any health care workers who take care of the infected person.
Since no vaccine is available to the infection, you need to maintain caution. But, scientists have succeeded in replicating the virus. So, it is now possible to detect the condition early. It makes it easier for early medical intervention and prevents any complication before the infection triggers symptoms.
Diagnosing Coronavirus (COVID-19)
If your doctor suspects you suffer from COVID-19, then they may contact the local health department. It is to access detailed instruction on testing. You need to provide a sample in a special lab for testing. Specific labs only have permission to do tests to detect coronavirus. You need to provide one or more of the following samples for testing to make a proper diagnosis:
A healthcare provider uses a swab to extract a sample from your nose or throat. They use a special swab to take the sample for testing.
For the test, the healthcare provider injects a saline solution in your mouth as well as lungs to collect a sample for testing. Gentle suction is used to remove the sample.
For taking a sample, you need to undergo a bronchoscopy. During the test, a thin, lighted tube is lowered into the lungs through the mouth to collect the sample.
Sputum refers to the thick mucus you cough from the lungs. You need to provide a sample by coughing sputum into a special cup. The healthcare professionals can also use a special swab to take a mucus sample from your nose.
The healthcare professional takes a blood sample for testing. In most cases, the sample is extracted from a vein in your arm.
Rapid Test Kits
For making detection easier, the FDA has approved the use of rapid test kits. The test developed by CDC can detect the presence of viruses using the sample extracted from your lungs, nose or throat. Using the test kits, it becomes possible to diagnose the problem fast and accurately. The test kit is available in the CDC-approved lab across the USA.
Preparation For Coronavirus Testing
While undergoing diagnostic tests, your healthcare providers suggest using a facemask. You need to wear the facemask to avoid the spread of infection. Your healthcare provider can also suggest other steps to avoid others getting the infection from you.
Risks Associated With The Diagnostic Tests
No permanent risk occurs when you undergo the diagnostic tests. But, you can feel uncomfortable. The temporary issues linked to the test depends on the specific diagnostic test you undergo. You can experience the following:
- Gagging or tickling sensation during the extraction of a sample from your throat or nose. Nasal aspirate can make you uncomfortable for a short time.
- When you undergo tracheal aspiration, you face a minor risk of bleeding or infection.
- The blood test does not cause any issues. You may feel slight pain or bruise at the spot where the technicians put the needle to draw blood. But, the symptoms go away swiftly.
Treatment For Coronavirus (COVID-19)
If the results come back as positive, it means you suffer from coronavirus infection. Unfortunately, you have no specific treatment to cure the condition. But, your healthcare provider offers recommendations to relieve your symptoms. These recommendations help your body fight off the infection. So, follow the steps suggested:
- Get ample rest while recovering from the infection.
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and ensure fast healing.
- To alleviate pain and discomfort, take over-the-counter pain relievers.
Emergency Medical Care
Never self-medicate as it will only worsen your condition. Always consult your doctor and follow the guidelines suggested by your healthcare professional. If your condition becomes worse or you see signs of pneumonia, then get emergency medical care. The symptoms of pneumonia, which needs emergency medical care are:
- Increased trouble breathing
- Worsening cough
- High fever
Prevent Spread Of Coronavirus Infection
When you suspect COVID-19, before getting a positive diagnosis, take steps to prevent others from getting sick. You need to follow the steps suggested to prevent the spread of infection:
- Stay at home and get the necessary medical help.
- Inform your doctor beforehand about your condition to help them take ample precautions before treating you.
- Opt for a facemask when you come in close contact with others.
- Never share your personal items like a drinking glass, bedding, eating utensils, or other personal items with others in your home.
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, not your hands.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- If your results were negative, you may need further testing and/or an exam by your provider. Until you get a diagnosis, you will still need to take steps to prevent spreading the infection.
Preventing Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Since COVID-19 has no medication or vaccination available, it is important to take steps to prevent it. The only way to remain safe is to take necessary steps to avoid contracting coronavirus. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Maintaining hygiene and practicing everyday prevention is the key to avoid COVID-19. Since you tend to touch people, objects or surfaces throughout the say, you have high chances of accumulating germs on your hands. These germs can cause infection when you touch your eyes, mouth or nose. So, wash your hands in either of the two methods:
- Use soap and rub your hands for at least twenty seconds and wash it off with water.
- In the absence of soap and water, use a hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol to clean the germs from your hands.
With the infection spreading to several different countries, the CDC and WHO have recommended standard precautions to avoid contracting the disease. You can take the following steps to reduce your risk of infection.
- Wash your hands after going out.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your eyes or nose with unclean hands.
- Avoid coming in contact with people who have an infection or suspect infection.
- Always clean and disinfect the surface you often use or touch.
- Avoid sharing personal items, household items, dishes, glasses or bedding if you are sick.
- Prevent the spreading of the disease by isolating yourself at home and avoid public places, office or other places when you see the symptoms.
- Wear a mask to protect yourself from the respiratory disease when you have existing medical conditions or other diseases. Healthy people can avoid wearing a mask. Use mask only when your healthcare provider recommends it.
The WHO Recommendation
Apart from the instruction provided, the WHO has also recommended certain points. So, try to follow the pointers:
- Avoid consuming undercooked or raw meat or animal organs.
- Avoid contact with live animals and surfaces they may have touched if you’re visiting live markets in areas that have recently had new coronavirus cases.
Safety While Traveling
If you are planning to travel internationally, then you need to ensure your safety. So, you have to follow the guidelines suggested below to avoid COVID-19:
- Check on the WHO or CDC website for updates regarding the outbreak. Also, check if the place you visit has experienced the outbreak or not.
- Follow the health advisories in the place where you are visiting.
- If you suffer from any health conditions or suffer from respiratory infections, then talk to your doctor. It is because these health issues make you prone to infection. Follow the suggestion provided by your doctor.
Since the WHO has declared coronavirus as a pandemic, you need to maintain caution. Become responsible and inform your primary healthcare center regarding the presence of the virus when you see the signs. It helps prevent the spread of the virus to others and contain the infection. With early detection, it is possible to prevent any complications. So, work with your healthcare provider to overcome the contagious infection. By taking the necessary precautions, you can avoid getting or spreading coronavirus.
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