Coronavirus disease is alsoknown as COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the newly discoveredcoronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China last year. This diseasehas since caused a large scale of epidemic and has spread to more than 181countries globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) has now declaredCOVID-19 a pandemic with a death toll of more than 21,000 to date.
According to the WorldHealth Organization, coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that caninfect birds and mammals including humans. These viruses have been responsiblefor several outbreaks around the world including the Middle East respiratorysyndrome (MERS) in South Korea in 2015 and severe acute respiratory syndrome(SARS) in 2002-2003.
Most recently, SARS-CoV2,a newly discovered strain from the coronaviruses family that spreads throughinhalation or ingestions of viral droplets triggered an outbreak with sparklinginternational concern. This virus is not similar to other coronaviruses thatcommonly circulate among humans. Patients with this infection will be evaluatedand cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
Why is it calledCoronavirus Disease?
The World HealthOrganization officially named the disease responsible for the recent outbreakof respiratory illnesses as COVID-19. It was previously known as the 2019 Novelcoronavirus or 2019-nCoV. SARS-CoV2 is the name of the virus that causesCOVID-19.
Viruses are named basedon their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic vaccines,tests, and medicines. The disease is named to enable discussion on diseaseprevention, spread, transmissibility, treatment, and severity. The coronavirusis named for its appearance. Under the microscope, the virus looks like theyare covered with a pointed structure that surrounds them like corona or crown.
How it is spread?
COVID-19 can be passedfrom person to person through inhalation or ingestions of viral droplets froman infected individual. It is considered a pandemic as it has been detected inpeople all over the world. The virus can be spread between two people who arein close contact with one another. It may also be through respiratory dropletsproduced when an infected person sneezes or coughs. People are thought to bemost contagious when they are most symptomatic. Some spread might be possiblebefore people show symptoms.
Can someone who has beenquarantined for COVID-19 spread the illness to others?
Quarantine meansseparating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagiousdisease but have not developed any symptoms. Quarantine is usually establishedfor the incubation period of the communicable disease.
For COVID-19, theincubation period is somewhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure. It isbecause 14 days is the longest incubation period seen for similar coronavirus.The quarantine period lasts for 14 days. Someone who has been released fromCOVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others.
How to protect yourselfand others?
The best way to preventillness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- Wash yourhands often with water and soap for at least 20 seconds especially after youhave been in a public place or after blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing.
- If soap andwater are not available, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Do not touchyour mouth, eyes and nose without washing your hands.
- Practicesocial distancing and stay away from people who are sick.
- To preventthe virus from spreading in your community, practice social distancing.
- Stay at homeif you are sick.
- Cover yourmouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough or you may use yourelbow. Throw the used tissue right away in a closed bin.
- Wear a facemask if you are sick or you are around other people. If you are not able towear a face mask, then you should cover when you sneeze or cough.
- If you arenot sick, there is no need to wear a mask unless you are caring for someone whois sick.
- Clean anddisinfect often especially touched surfaces daily. This includes tables,doorknobs, light switches, or toilets.
- If surfacesare dirty, clean them soap or detergent and water before disinfection.
How to protect yourfamily?
You may implement stepsto prevent illness such as staying at home, proper hand washing, andrespiratory etiquette. You may as well create a household plan of action incase of the disease in the household.
- Consider the2-week supply of medications, food, and other essentials. Know how to get fooddelivered if possible.
- Establishways to communicate with others.
- Establishplans on what to do about the needs of children and how to adapt to thecancellation of events.
- Always stayinformed about emergency plans.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Symptoms of the diseasemay be very mild or more serious such as:
After exposure to thevirus, the appearance of the symptoms may take up to 14 days. Some othersymptoms may include:
- Aches andpains
Get medical attention right away if you develop emergency warning signssuch as:
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Trouble breathing
- Inability to stand
- Bluish lips or face
The spectrum of symptomatic patients ranges from mild to critical butmost cases are not severe. The overall case fatality is 2.3% while the reportedcritical conditions are 5%.
What to do if you aresick or caring for someone?
If you are sick withCOVID-19, do the following:
- Stay at home
- Stay intouch with your doctor for medical care
- Avoid publictransportation
- Separateyourself from others especially in your home
- Limitcontact with animals and pets
- Cover yourmouth when you sneeze or cough
- You shouldnot share any personal household items
Prevent the spread ofgerm when caring for someone who is sick.
- Have theperson stay in one room
- Have themuse a separate bathroom
- Avoidsharing personal household items
- Wear a face maskwhen they are around people
- If the sickperson can’t wear facemask, you should wear one while in the same room
- Make surethe sick person drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and rest at home
What to do if you haveclose contact with someone with COVID-19?
You should monitor yourhealth for symptoms during the 14 days after the last day you were in closecontact with the sick person. You should not go to work or school and avoidpublic places for 14 days. If you get sick, you should isolate yourself at homeand away from other people. If you don’t have a high-risk condition but wantmedical help, tell them you were exposed to someone who is with COVID-19. Ifpossible, put on a facemask before emergency services arrive or right awayafter they arrive.
How can people help stopstigma related to COVID-19?
Poor information couldhelp the disease spread but good information could help halt it. Here are someDO’S and DONT’S you may follow:
Stick to the facts
- Do speakaccurately about the risk from COBID-19 based on scientific data and latestofficial health advice
- Don’t shareunconfirmed rumors and avoid using hyperbolic languages intended to generatefear
- Be positive
- Do talkpositively and emphasize the effectiveness of prevention and treatment. Forsome people, this is a disease they can overcome.
- Emphasizethe effectiveness of adopting protective measures to prevent acquiring the newcoronavirus.
- Don’temphasize or dwell on the negative or message of threat.
Coronavirus DiseaseDiagnostic and Treatments
Doctors can test for coronavirus infections using a CDC kit or Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panel. This kit is intendedfor use with upper and lower respiratory specimens collected from an infectedperson who meets the criteria for COVID-19 testing and by laboratoriesdesignated by CDC as qualified.
There is no specific treatment yet for COVID-19. However, many of thesymptoms being manifested can be treated, therefore treatment is based on thepatient’s clinical conditions. Recently, hydroxychloroquine has beenadministered to hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the US and around the worldand hopefully, this drug would be one of the biggest game-changer in thehistory of medicine.
Will warm weather stopthe outbreak of COVID-19?
Community living inwarmer places appear to have a comparative advantage to the slow transmissionof the infection. Whenever the temperature is colder, the number of casesstarts to increase quickly. Warmer temperatures might make it harder for thecoronavirus to survive in the air or on surfaces for long periods but it is stillcontagious for hours. The fact that local transmission is happening across theglobal signals that this virus may be more resilient to warmer temperatures. Atthis time, it is not yet clear if COVID-19 stops on warm weather.
Who are at higher riskof COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a newdisease and based on available information to date, older adults and peoplewith underlying conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from thecoronavirus disease. Those at high risk of the infection include:
- People aged65 years of age and older
- People withchronic lung disease
- People withmoderate to severe asthma
- People who arein a long-term care facility or in a nursing home
- People with aserious heart condition, and those undergoing cancer therapy
- Patients whoare immuno-compromised. Many conditions can cause a person to beimmunocompromised, bone marrow, immune deficiencies, and prolonged use ofcorticosteroids.
- People withsevere obesity
- People withunderlying conditions such as those with diabetes, liver disease or renalfailure.
COVID-19 and PregnantWomen
The immune system ofpregnant women is less quick to response to illnesses so they are more likelyto become sick. Pregnant women should do the same thing as others. Things to do:
- Practicesocial distancing
- Take care ofyourself. Reduce anxiety about this pandemic by taking a break from watching orlistening to new stories about the pandemic.
- Keep intouch with people who care about you or who you care about.
COVID-19 and Children
Children do not appearto be at higher risk of having this disease. You can encourage your child tohelp stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing respiratory hygiene. You may aswell;
- Clean anddisinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household areas
- Launderitems including washable plush toys as appropriate by the instruction of themanufacturer. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate watersetting and dry them, completely.
If your child is healthythere is no need to use a facemask. Only people who have symptoms and areproviding care for those who are ill.
Pets have other types ofcoronavirus that can make them sick. The other coronavirus can’t infect peopleand is not related to the current COVID-19. Since animals can spread other diseases to people, it is always a goodidea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals. At this time,there is no evidence that the virus causes COVID-19 can spread to people fromthe skin or fur of pets. You should restrict contact with pets and otheranimals while you are sick. It is also recommended that people sick withCOVID-19 must limit contact with animals until more information is known aboutthe new disease.