Coronavirus Disease: What Is It, Symptoms & Prevention

Coronavirus disease

One thing that has hit the world and that is a common enemy of every nation is Coronavirus (COVID-19). One way or another, it keeps digging its way into every continents of the world. In this article, you will get to know what Coronavirus is, causes and symptoms.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that affect the lungs. The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a previously unknown virus but it has some genetic similarities to the SARS virus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Both viruses belong to the Coronavirus family. The virus that causes MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is another Coronavirus.

The coronavirus family includes many different viruses that can cause respiratory infection. Many coronaviruses only cause colds, while others can cause more serious illness and in some cases, death.

Coronaviruses are also detected in animals. In rare cases, these coronaviruses can develop so they can transmit from animals to humans and between humans. This was seen during the SARS epidemic in 2002 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), where the infection probably came from bats via civet cats and other animals, and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2012, where dromedary camels were the source of infection for the virus.

coronavirus image

Mode of Transmission of Coronavirus

As with colds and influenza, the virus is transmitted from the respiratory tract of a sick person in three ways;

  1. Airborne through sneezing or coughing, so the virus is inhaled or comes into contact with the mucosa of the eyes, nose or mouth of people nearby who inhaled it.
  2. By direct contact when the person who is sick has the virus on their hands and transmits it by contact with others through handshake, hugs, kissing etc who then touch the mucosa of the eyes, nose or mouth.
  3. By indirect contact when the virus is transmitted onto objects or surfaces (e.g. door handles, keyboards, telephones etc) by sneezing or coughing, or by the sick person having the virus on their hands, and others then touch the contaminated object/surface.

Can Coronavirus be gotten from food, water and animals?

Currently, there are no known cases of infection via contaminated food, imported food, water or animals. Based on current knowledge of coronaviruses, infection via food and water is considered unlikely.

In the case of swimming pools, the chlorine content of the pool water will be sufficient to inactivate viruses, including COVID-19, although physical contact during bathing could lead to transmission. On 12th March 2020, the Norwegian Directorate of Health announced the closure of swimming pools, water parks etc., to prevent transmission of COVID-19. The decision applies from the 12th March at 6 p.m. until the 26th March 2020, with the possibility for extension.

So far, no information has emerged of transmission between animals and humans. People in isolation and quarantine can be together with their pets.

 

Incubation period of Coronavirus

The incubation time (from infection until symptoms appear) is estimated by WHO to be 5-6 days but this can vary from 0 to 14 days.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Some people may have COVID-19 without developing symptoms i.e they are asymptomatic. This is especially true for children and younger adults. It is unclear to what extent people without symptoms can transmit the disease. Usually, people who become ill initially experience;

  1. Upper respiratory tract symptoms (sore throat, cold symptoms, mild cough), as well as feeling generally unwell and having
  2. Muscle pain.
  3. Diarrhoea may occur but is not common.
  4. Fever
  5. Difficulty in Breathing

How is Corona Virus Diagnosed?

  1. X-ray examination of the lungs may show changes consistent with viral pneumonia (pulmonary infiltrates).
  2. Covid-19 test kit is used after blood samples are collected from suspected victims.
  3. If you noticed any symptoms above, contact your doctor immediately.

prevent covid-19 by washing hands

Specific advice to people in risk groups:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Ensure you have all necessary medication available. Continue with regular medication and only make changes in consultation with your doctor.
  • Keep a distance to others and avoid crowds
  • Limit use of public transport if possible
  • Make arrangements about who can help you with necessary purchases
  • Avoid looking after small children because they often have mild or no symptoms and can infect people in risk groups.
  • If someone you live with is feeling unwell (particularly if you suspect COVID-19), limit time spent together
  • Employees in risk groups should talk to their employer about the possibility for remote working and video conference facilities.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol

General advice to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection

  1. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and lukewarm water, especially when you have been among people. Hand disinfection is a good alternative if hand washing facilities are unavailable.
  2. Ensure that people you live with wash their hands often. This also applies to visitors.
  3. Avoid shaking hands and hugging
  4. Clean the home often, particularly surfaces that are frequently touched.
  5. Avoid unnecessary contact with people with respiratory symptoms
  6. Keep up-to-date about the situation and follow the local media.

Vaccines for Coronavirus infection

Currently, there is no vaccine against COVID-19 but several research groups are working hard to develop a vaccine.

healthworker attending to patient

Healthcare personnel in risk groups

Healthcare personnel with patient contact are at risk of exposure to coronavirus from infected people who are seeking medical attention.

The recommended infection control equipment should be used by all healthcare professionals during contact with a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 disease. For healthcare professionals with risk factors, adjustment is recommended so that other healthcare professionals without risk factors can take samples and treat people with suspected COVID-19 disease where possible.

Workplace adjustment should be done in consultation with the employer.
When patient contact and exposure to COVID-19 patients cannot be avoided, transfer to other tasks or remote working should be considered based on individual risk.

Management and control of Covid-19

Currently there is no specific drug management for corona virus. However the following are standard approached to palliative care and management of the virus.

  1. Patient are place on ventilating machine to help them breath and ventilate the lungs thereby, preventing respiratory shut down.
  2. Adequate rehydration of corona virus victims is essential through intravenous fluid.
  3. Paracetamol can be administered to tackle high fever.
  4. Oxygen therapy is essential.

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