Novel Coronavirus, which is behind the onslaught of COVID-19 disease, comes from the family of coronaviruses. These viruses can cause illnesses like the common cold, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). In late 2019, in the Wuhan province of China, a new coronavirus was identified as a cause of disease outbreak in the region.
The virus itself is called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes in people is known as coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19. In March o 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic and ever since major public health groups like WHO U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), etc. are monitoring the epidemic and updating their websites with the latest information about the outbreak.
These public health groups are also issuing guidelines regarding the prevention and treatment of this illness.
COVID-19 symptoms start to appear within 2 to 14 days after the exposure. The time between a person getting exposed to the virus and showing signs is called the incubation period. It is the most crucial time for a person, as, during this period, a person is most likely to spread the disease to others.
Common COVID-19 symptoms can include:
These are the main symptoms of this disease, but other symptoms can also indicate that the coronavirus has infected a person.
Other symptoms of coronavirus disease include:
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste or smell
These symptoms are not all the signs that a person can exhibit after getting infected with the virus. Organizations like WHO and CDC are monitoring the situation and adding new symptoms in the list
Some new symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Congestion and runny nose
The severity of the symptoms can vary between individuals, and children generally have milder symptoms than adults. Not everyone shows all signs of this disease. Some have very few symptoms, while others might not exhibit any of the signs of the illness.
People with already existing chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, severe obesity, heart disease, diabetes, chronic liver disease or kidney disease, or compromised immune systems might be at higher risk of serious illness.
When to visit the doctor?
If you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms or have come in contact with someone diagnosed with this disease, you should contact a medical professional immediately. Tell them about your symptoms or exposure before you show up there for your appointment.
If the severity of the symptoms is high, you should not waste any time and immediately get medical attention. The symptoms that might warrant an emergency response can include:
- Persistent chest pain or pressure
- Trouble breathing
- New confusion
- Blue lips or face
- Inability to stay awake
It would be best to let the medical professional know about any chronic medical condition that you might have, such as lung disease or heart disease.
What Causes COVID-19?
Exposure to the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) results in COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).
Right now, human to human transfer appears to be the primary cause of spreading this disease. Data shows that the virus spreads from person to person when they come in close contact (usually within 2 meters or six feet).
It also spreads sneezes, coughs, or talks through the droplets that the other person can inhale. The virus can also spread if a person touches a surface that contains the virus and then touches their nose, eyes, or mouth.
There is no cure available for COVID-19, but there are various steps that a person can take to reduce the risk of infection. CDC and WHO recommends the following precautions for COVID-19:
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Keep a distance of about 2 meters (6 feet) between yourself and others.
- Wash your hands frequently with water and soap for 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose.
- Disinfect and clean the frequently touched surfaces, like light switches, counters, electronics, and doorknobs.
- Avoid events and mass gatherings.
- Use a cloth mask to cover your face in public places. Using a surgical mask is not required as an ordinary cloth mask is enough to get the job done.
- Use a tissue or cover the nose and mouth with your elbow while sneezing or coughing.
- Throw the used tissue and wash your hands immediately.
- Do not share items such as towels, beddings, glasses, dishes, and other household items.
- Do not go to the office, school, or any other public area if you feel sick.
- Avoid using public transport, taxis, and ride-sharing services if you are going to visit a doctor.
Because of the unavailability of any vaccine for COVID-19, it is crucial to take all the necessary precautions. People with chronic health issues should also consult with their doctor for any additional precautions they need to take. They have a very high risk of contracting the illness and suffering severely from it.