Medically Reviewed by Mahmoud Mokhtar, MBBS, MRCP (UK)
By Dr Omiete Charles-Davies, MBBS / Coronavirus
With over 2,600,000 cases and more than 182,000 deaths, the current coronavirus outbreak has alarmed the world. Since the virus causing it is new to scientists, there’s a lot of new information being released.
At the same time, there’s a huge amount of misinformation spreading across the internet. In this post, we’ll be giving you 9 important facts about the disease and what you should know.
The virus that is causing the current outbreak is from the same coronavirus family as the viruses that cause the common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The name of the virus causing this outbreak is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).Advertisements
While people may want to trivialize the spread of this disease, it is not the flu and has a significantly higher fatality rate than the flu. The seasonal flu kills less than 1% of people affected while COVID-19’s official death rate is about 3.4%.
The actual COVID-19 death rate may be less than what’s officially accepted because of the supposedly high number of asymptomatic people who didn’t get tested for the disease.
Fever, tiredness and dry cough are its main symptoms, some other associated symptoms are:
The symptoms are usually mild in most people and appear gradually. In some cases, there are no symptoms at all.
The incubation period is 2-14 days (commonly 5 days). The incubation period is the time it takes a person to develop symptoms after being infected by the virus.Advertisements
While the virus likely originated from an animal source in Wuhan, China, the virus is mostly spread from person to person by small droplets.
The virus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, releasing small droplets into the immediate environment and landing on surfaces. People can get infected if these droplets are inhaled or if they touch their nose, mouth or eyes after touching a contaminated surface.
Infected people are more contagious when they show symptoms. So, it’s best not to stay in close proximity to someone coughing or sneezing.
If you are in a city with confirmed coronavirus cases, you should try your best not to touch your face, especially when out in public. The reason is that coronavirus droplets can survive on surfaces for hours to even days.
So, if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes, nose, and mouth, you can get infected with the virus.Advertisements
Hand washing is perhaps one of the most effective ways of staying safe during the current outbreak. You should wash your hands as often as possible, especially when you return home. You should wash your hands for about 20 seconds with soap and water, this is known to kill the virus and protect you from an infection.
After washing your hands, you can leave them to air dry to clean with a disposable paper towel. Don’t re-use any hand towel.
While handwashing is the most ideal way to clean your hands, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers (with up to 60% alcohol), especially If you don’t have immediate access to running water. Alcohol is known to kill the virus too, so, hand sanitizers are a quick way to disinfect your hands, especially when you’re on the go.
If your hands are visibly dirty, you should wash your hands instead.
During this period, it is advisable to stay at home and avoid contact with people if you have symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose, and a sore throat. You should also get a face mask.
The reason is that if by chance you have been infected by the coronavirus, you’ll protect your friends and loved ones by self-isolation. If really ill, you should call your healthcare provider or your country’s coronavirus hotlines to report your illness and follow their recommendations. Call before you go to the hospital.
While caution is advised this period, don’t panic. Most people who are infected (regardless of their age) make a full recovery. The disease also causes mild symptoms or may be asymptomatic in those infected.
People who are more likely to develop serious illness from the infection are old people, or those with underlying medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. If you are in this category, you need to take extra caution to prevent the disease.
Mahmoud Mokhtar, MBBS, MRCP (UK)Dr. Mahmoud Mokhtar is a respiratory medicine specialist. He has a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery, a master’s degree in chest diseases and tuberculosis, and is a member of the Royal College of Physicians of The United Kingdom.
Source 25 Doctors
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