Whether you switch on the Television or use social media these days, there is only one topic under discussion; the coronavirus. Everyone is worried nowadays about coronavirus. The increasing number of cases being reported worldwide has everyone panicking. You must have a lot of questions regarding the virus too like what is Coronavirus? Am I likely to be infected with coronavirus? What is the cure for coronavirus? How can I prevent it? We are here to answer your questions. So, let’s start!
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Corona viruses are a family of viruses that cause deadly infections. The different types of viruses in a family are known as strains. This current strain causing the disease in humans is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is known as Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to a known bat SARS-like Coronavirus. This indicates that bats are the most likely origin of this virus.
The virus was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. From there it spread to almost every country in the world. All speculations right now point to The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, which may have been the starting point of the outbreak.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
At first, the coronavirus causes flu-like symptoms; including fever and a persistent cough. However, in adults of more than 65 years of age, the symptoms can be different; especially if comorbidities are present. These comorbidities can include heart disease, immunocompromised individuals, etc. In such cases, the symptoms can include pneumonia, chest pain, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms can be confusion, muscle ache, headaches, and coughing up of blood (Hemolysis). It can take up to 10 days before a patient needs intensive care after catching the coronavirus infection.
How long does it take to get infected with Coronavirus?
According to estimations right now, the scientists have concluded that each individual infected with coronavirus can infect up to two other people. The current hospital guidelines say that transfer from an infected person can occur in any infection or disease if you are within six feet of them for more than 10 minutes. But the scientists working on coronavirus suggest taking preventive measures seriously as this does not hold for COVID-19. It is possible to get infected from coronavirus in less than 10 minutes.
How did the Coronavirus come into humans from bats?
The scientists suspect that the coronavirus came from animals into humans. The crossover happened through a process known as zoonosis. This process can work through multiple means like:
- Direct contact (saliva, blood, urine, mucous, or feces)
- Indirect contact (pet habitats)
- Vector-borne (tick, mosquitoes)
- Waterborne (contaminated with feces)
What is the incubation period of Coronavirus?
The mean incubation period for coronavirus is 5.2 days. This period is the time between the exposure to an infection and the appearance of first symptoms. For coronavirus, they are fever and dry cough.
What to expect with Coronavirus?
A research paper published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology on February 17, reported that nearly 80.9 percent of the cases are mild with flu like symptoms. Such individuals can recover at home. Cases with severe pneumonia can be 13.8 percent. In 4.7 percent cases, the condition can be critical because of respiratory failure, septic shock, along with multi-organ failure. In 2 percent cases, the coronavirus infection can be fatal.
The truth be known many countries are reporting more like 1 in 15 – 1 in 40 cases ending in death; much more than 2% as formerly thought. These numbers are from Worldometers which gives uptodate stats around the world on health and economics.
How can I get rid of Coronavirus?
There is no treatment available for the coronavirus right now. The doctors can only treat your symptoms if you get the disease. However, most infections of the virus are not fatal. If you are healthy enough, you can recover easily from the disease under medical supervision.
How to prepare for Coronavirus?
First of all, you should take preventive measures against coronavirus. Secondly, the only thing that can help when it comes to coronavirus right now is your natural immunity. Your immune system protects you against a variety of diseases and microorganisms with the help of natural barriers like skin, mucous membranes, tears, earwax, mucus, and stomach acid, along with friendly bugs that live in your body, epithelial cells, and white blood cells. But there can be chinks in this armor and you should help build up your immunity to fight possible infections.
How can I build my immunity to fight of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
There are 7 simple tips but helpful to improve your immunity in order to fight your best fight. They include:
- Exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
- Stop consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.
- Get enough sleep (up to 8 hours) so you don’t get worn down.
- Improve your diet (include more fruits, vegetables, and fiber).
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Keep 6 feet distance apart whenever possible to avoid close contact.
- Consume Vitamin C and supplements to boost your immune system quickly.
What is the difference between Coronavirus and Pneumonia?
Coronavirus causes COVID-19. Pneumonia is one of the symptoms of coronavirus disease. Pneumonia is the infection of one or both lungs. The alveoli in the lungs get filled with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe.
What is the difference between Coronavirus and Common Flu?
Common flu is caused by the Influenza virus and the coronavirus disease is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The common flu is less deadly than the coronavirus. The coronavirus has a fatality rate of over 2%. This makes the coronavirus nearly 10 times more deadly than the flu, which kills between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally.
How does coronavirus kill?
The progression from mild to severe form of the coronavirus can occur very quickly. The infection usually starts from the nose. It then invades epithelial cells of the upper respiratory tract. If the infection stays there, it causes mild disease. However, if the virus moves to the peripheral branches of the respiratory tree and lung tissue, it can trigger a more severe phase of the disease. In a more severe phase, the body can start to kill the infected cells along with the healthy ones. This can build up to a point where the lungs cannot recover physically. This leads to death.
Is there a vaccine available for Coronavirus?
There is no vaccine available for coronavirus as of yet. Vaccine development takes a lot of time. When at first a vaccine is developed, it is tested in animals. If that provides promising results, the vaccine is tested in human trials. Only then, if it is proven to be efficient and safe, it is provided to the public at large. According to the latest status of vaccine development for coronavirus, it can take up to a year for scientists to develop a vaccine.
How are MERS and SARS related to Coronavirus?
All of these diseases including Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and COVID-19 are caused by coronaviruses. However, Coronavirus has spread much more quickly than MERS or SARS. According to the scientist, the fatality rate of COVID-19 is much lower than the other two diseases. The data suggests that the coronavirus only kills 2.2% of the infected individuals. The mortality rate of SARS was 9.6 percent and MERS caused death in 32.5 percent of the people who contracted it.
In easier terms, out of 50 infected MERS killed 17 people, SARS killed 5 people, and the new coronavirus kills 1 person.
Is there Coronavirus in Cats?
There has been no evidence yet that the coronavirus causes disease in common household pets like cats. Stay tuned.
Is there Coronavirus in Dogs?
There has been no evidence yet that the coronavirus causes disease in common household pets like dogs. Stay tuned.
Can a surgical mask protect me against Coronavirus?
Surgical masks do provide a little protection against coronavirus. It has been found that there is at least fivefold more protection when you use a mask compared to no barrier. Though other studies have found lower levels of effectiveness. Only use masks when you are in crowds or proximity to other people. Do not hoard the masks, as health workers need these masks more than common people right now. And we should focus more on keeping the infection from spreading then taking unnecessary precautions according to health experts.
N95 masks are better than surgical masks. However, their use is not recommended.
Is Coronavirus Mutating?
All viruses mutate. It is a natural process. Common flu virus mutates every six months. There is no need to panic over the fact that coronavirus is mutating. The viruses that kill people rapidly or make people so sick that they are incapacitated are less likely to be transmitted. Coronavirus has a very low fatality rate. The genetic analysis of the coronavirus has shown that there are two chief strains of the virus causing the disease right now; called L and S. The strain L is more common than the S, however, the S strain is the ancestral version of the virus.
Does Coronavirus kill only old people?
No. it is not true. Coronavirus kills people of all ages. Any person who has any kind of immune deficiency is more likely to die from the disease. The current reports show that old people are dying from the coronavirus. This is true but all of the people who died had reported several comorbidities. They were already suffering from some chronic health problems like diabetes, heart conditions, etc. Everyone can catch the coronavirus, though one point to note is that health workers are more likely to get infected from the virus compared to people from other people. That is because they are more likely to be exposed to infected individuals than any other person and everyone who is affected right now can infect up to two other persons.
What are the preventative measures against Coronavirus?
There are several things that you can do to avoid catching the coronavirus. This includes:
- Stop touching your face
- Wash your hands regularly with alcohol-based products
- Facemasks can provide a little protection against liquid droplets, use them in crowds.
- Keep your distance from others to be careful.
- Avoid contact with live exotic animals like bats etc.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough
- Avoid eating undercooked or raw animal products of any kind
- If you have traveled back from china or a region within 14 days where cases have been diagnosed, stay indoors and avoid contact with our people
How does handwashing protect against Coronavirus?
Washing your hands with water and alcohol-based products help kill the coronavirus on your hands. The virus cannot survive in the air. The common method of its transmission right now is through hands. So, it’s important to keep your hands clean.
There are 7 steps to properly wash your hands:
- Start by making your hands wet with clean water.
- Use soap to lather up. Use any alcohol-based product.
- Scrub your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds,
- Clean under your nails.
- Rinse your hands with clean water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
- Do not touch any surface when your hands are wet, as germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands.
Hand sanitizer vs. hand washing; which is better to avoid Coronavirus?
It’s better to wash your hands than the hand sanitizer. If you have to use a sanitizer make sure that it is at least 60 percent alcohol according to CDC.
What to do if I have Coronavirus?
If you suspect that you have coronavirus, do not panic. First consider some important things like:
- Did you travel to a country where coronavirus was reported?
- Have you come in contact with someone who has coronavirus?
- Are you above 65 years of age?
- Do you have any health conditions that affect your immunity?
- Do you have a fever and dry cough?
If you answer the majority of these questions as yes, then immediately contact your local hospital and inform them of your condition over the phone. Do not travel to the hospital where you can risk infecting multiple other people. Wait for the team to arrive and check you out.
What happens if I get diagnosed with Coronavirus?
If you do get infected with coronavirus, you are likely to be placed in quarantine. This can be in your own house or the hospital. Quarantine is the restriction of movement of people to prevent further spread of the disease. The isolation periods can be long or short. Right now, for coronavirus, the quarantine period is 14 days based on the estimated incubation period. Right now, the treatment for coronavirus includes only taking care of the symptoms like fever, cough, etc. No drug is available to especially treat the coronavirus.