What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that cause diseases in birds and mammals, including humans. Common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) are examples of diseases caused by Coronaviruses.
Symptoms and signs can come mild but may become severe and deadly if care is not taken.
Coronaviruses have been existing for decades but became a subject of global discussion since the year 2019 (December) after when it broke in Wuhan China.
Medical researchers believe that the 2019 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak that started in Wuhan china before crossing over to other countries was caused by a new virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
In the bid to control the illness from spreading further, World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), came up with treatment and preventive guidelines while researching for a permanent cure.
Coronavirus causes – What causes Coronavirus?
What causes coronavirus in humans is when a healthy living person makes close contact with a coronavirus carrier animal.
Scientists at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said tests showed that humans acquired COVID-19 from animals at the Wuhan animal market where live animals were being trade. Even though some experts believe the disease originated from snakes as they known carrier of coronaviruses.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning animals are the primary host of these viruses before transmitting to humans.
Researchers believe SARS was transmitted from bats to civet cats and then to humans. While MERS moved from camels to humans.
Transmission – How does (COVID-19) infections spread?
Coronavirus can spread through person to person contact says “China’s national health commission”.
For instance, if an infected person coughs or sneezes without covering his/her mouth, the virus is passed on to others through the released respiratory droplets.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Other ways coronavirus (COVID-19) can spread easily are through;
- Touching or shaking hands with an infected person
- Making contact with object or surface that has been touched by infected person/s and then putting unwashed hands in the mouth or nose.
- Having contact with an infected person’s feces ( this occur on rare occasions)
Coronavirus Symptoms (COVID-19)
COVID-19 symptoms may not show up at the same time in infected people. According to CDC reports, coronavirus symptoms and signs appear within 2 days in some people with symptoms such as common cold. And may take up to 14days after exposure in some people before symptoms can be visible.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include…
- runny nose
- sore throat
- shortness of breath or breathing difficulty
In more severe cases, coronavirus infection may cause people with premature or weak immune systems, children and infants, old adults, people with heart or lung disease to have…
- severe acute respiratory syndrome,
- kidney failure,
Note: All these symptoms should not be taken as minor as they may even lead to death.
Risk factors – Who is at risk for COVID-19 infections?
- Infants and children with a premature immune system are most likely to be infected.
- Older people with low performing immune systems.
- School children such as those in daycare, boarding homes or colleges.
- People who have a weak immune system
- Adults or children with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease
- Those using certain medications including chemotherapy drugs
- Tourists and travellers especially those who reside or travel to China and other high-risk countries with coronavirus cases.
- Those that worship in various religious centers.
- Those who keep close contact with coronavirus infected person.
When should you seek medical help?
If you have any of the coronavirus symptoms mentioned or you feel exposed to the virus, contact your doctor immediately. Over the phone, tell your doctor about your recent association with people, where you have been to and things you got exposed to. Make sure your doctor confirms your appointment before the visit.
Diagnosis – How are coronavirus infections diagnosed?
Just like other viral infections, the 2019 coronavirus disease can be diagnosed with samples of blood, saliva, or tissue drawn from a person. A laboratory technician will either draw a sample of your blood with a needle or use a cotton swab to take from your nose or back of your throat a small sample of saliva or respiratory secretions. These samples will then be used to run laboratory tests such as serology tests and molecular tests so as to detect the infection or the type of virus a person has been exposed to.
Treatment – What are the treatments for coronavirus infections?
There is currently no available vaccine to prevent, cure or treat the 2019 coronavirus infection as most people who have it will recover on their own, according to the CDC. Although studies are still on for the treatment and vaccines that will help improve the condition.
Nevertheless, medical professionals have recommended several forms of supportive care and over-the-counter pain, fever and cough medicines as the best treatment for mild symptoms of COVID-19.
Note: Recommendations of medicines are dependent on the symptoms and complications developed.
Unlike the COVID-19, the SARS and MERS have available vaccines and treatments, which include;
- blood plasma transfusions
- antiviral or retroviral medications
- steroids to reduce lung swelling
- breathing support like mechanical ventilation
Prevention – How to prevent Coronavirus Infection (COVID-19)
Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent 2019 coronavirus infection symptoms. But you can reduce your risk of getting infected or spreading the virus further with the WHO and CDC recommended standard precautions steps.
- Maintain proper hygiene by washing your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20second. You can also use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer to rub your hands if soap and water are unavailable.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow, towel or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Do not touch your nose, eyes, and mouth with unclean hands.
- Avoid contact with live animals around your living area, markets or places that have recently had new coronavirus cases.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Get quality rest always.
- Drink plenty of water every day.
- Stay away from crowded gatherings and events – maintain social distancing
- Personalize your items. Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items with people especially those who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect hard surfaces that you frequently touch.
- Do not go to work or public areas if you feel sick and speak to your doctor immediately.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or animal organs.
- Take medications as soon as you notice symptoms and don’t let the condition get severe.
In addition, boosting your immune system can help you stay protected and even fight off the virus from your body if you have it. Read up the fastest way to boost your immunity against coronavirus from our Coronavirus prevention Kit.
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