COVID-19, short for coronavirus disease 2019 is a new virus which means that nobody has immunity to it. The virus is highly contagious and the entire human population is prone to infection.
How Does It Spread and What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19 spreads via respiratory droplets when people cough or sneeze. It’s still not clear to scientists how easily the disease can spread among people. People over age 60 are at the highest risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 can begin two to 14 days after exposure. The leading symptoms are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Other symptoms could also appear such as sputum production, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, muscle pain or joint pain. People infected with coronavirus can experience chills, vomiting, and nasal congestion. Less reported symptoms are diarrhea, hemoptysis (coughing up blood from the respiratory tract), and conjunctival congestion.
Although most of the symptoms are usually mild, and about 80% of people who get infected will typically recover without needing any special treatment, some of the infected can become seriously ill.
About 1 in 6 patients develop serious breathing difficulties, and this is the reason why people are concerned.
General Preventive Measures We Should Take
The most effective measure anyone can take is washing your hands very frequently and not touching your face. Pay attention to lathering both the front and the back of the hands and fingers for at least 15 to 20 seconds. In case you don’t have access to soap, use a hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 60% alcohol.
Avoid contact with people who are ill, or maintain a distance of at least 6 feet, or 1.8 meters.
Stay at home if you are feeling sick.
Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze and make sure you throw it in a bin that closes.
Another thing you can do is disinfecting the surfaces and objects you touch frequently.
What Extra Precautions Should Individuals with Chronic Medical Conditions Take?
In addition to the general preventive measures listed above, they should also stock up on necessary medications and supplies that would last them for a few weeks.
They should stay at home as much as possible and avoid crowds and travel.
They should also seek prompt medical attention if they or someone in their family show any symptoms of COVID-19. Their family should be extra careful not to bring COVID-19 home.
What Should Sick Individuals Do?
In case you have symptoms of COVID-19 or diagnosis is confirmed, you should follow these steps to prevent the spread of the infection and protect your loved ones:
- Stay at home, the best scenario would be to stay in a separate room not shared with others and to isolate yourself completely, of course, except for getting medical care.
- Do not go to public areas and avoid public transport.
- Limit contact with pets and animals.
- Do not share personal items with anyone.
- Always cover coughs and sneezes with tissues and dispose of them suitably.
- Sanitize your hands regularly.
- Disinfect surfaces such as phones, keyboards, toilets, and tables at your home.
People should call prior to visiting the hospital to schedule an appointment. This enables the hospital to take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of the infection.
Patients who have symptoms or have confirmed COVID-19 should wear face masks when going out. The WHO’s website has published about how the way people should use a face mask.
Is There a Treatment?
There are no vaccines available at the moment for human coronaviruses such as COVID-19. Which is why the prevention and containment of the virus are of extreme importance.
Oxygen therapy is the main treatment intervention for patients with severe disease. In cases of respiratory failure is used mechanical ventilation.
Potential treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 are under research.