Covid-19 is a respiratory disease that has quickly become a global pandemic. It is potentially a very fatal illness that is a result of the corona virus. The first case of this virus was detected in Wuhan China in December 2019. Thereafter the virus spread across the globe. According to the most recent reports, there are thousands of death cases in China and other parts of the world including the United States of America.
That said, this article will be focused on discussing everything you need to know about Covid-19 as well as how it spreads. And most importantly, what you need to keep you and your loved ones safe during the pandemic.
So, what is Covid-19?
Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) is a respiratory disease that is a result of acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The name coronavirus is derived from the structure of the virus when observed under a microscope. In that, this virus has a crown-like shape with proteins that bulge out from its nucleus to all directions. These proteins are what attaches to your body.
How is this Virus Spread?
Covid-19 is spread when there is close contact from one person to the other within a close range of 6 feet of an infected person. The spread of this virus is initiated by respiratory droplets that are often expelled from the body when an infected parson either coughs or sneezes directly to another individual without covering their mouth or nose.
In addition, this virus is also spread when the droplets from either the sneeze, coughs or contaminated hands of the infected person land on certain surfaces then another individual touches the same surface then touches their nose, eyes or mouth without washing their hands. Also, the virus can be quickly spread when there are large gatherings.
Symptoms of the Covid-19 Virus
Coronavirus symptoms may range from just mild sickness to extreme cases of pneumonia-like symptoms. Although most individuals tend to recover from the virus within a short time, others tend to get extremely ill as soon as they are infected.
Most of the people suspected to have coronavirus experience;
- Shortness of breath
- Flu-like symptoms. This may include sore throat, coughing and fatigue
However, the severity of these symptoms tend to differ from one person to the other.
Who is More Susceptible to Covid-19?
Everyone can get infected by the Novel coronavirus, there are certain groups of people who are more susceptible to this disease. This includes;
- The elderly
- People who have underlying chronic respiratory illnesses
- Diabetes patients
- People with cardiovascular diseases
- Patients with high blood pressure.
These people are more likely to be infected by this viral illness and in most cases, it can lead to their death. This is to mean that they need extra care in order to keep them safe during this pandemic.
Are There any Available Treatments?
As of current status, there is no specific treatment that has been exclusively been allocated to curbing Covid-19. However, there are ongoing studies being conducted on the treatments and vaccines of the same. The treatment being administered is focused on controlling the acute symptoms in the patient after the viral infection.
This means that, if you suspect that you have Covid-19, you need to seek medical assistance immediately. Your doctor will give you certain recommendations on how to deal with the symptoms that you are likely to develop along the way.
There are other coronaviruses that had emerged in the past such as SARS and MARS. We have vaccines and treatments for those similar Covid-19 viruses. They include;
- Steroid that minimize the swelling of lungs
- Blood plasma transfusion
- Antiviral and retroviral medications
- Breathing assistance
Identification and Diagnosis of Coronavirus
Covid-19 can be identified and diagnosed similarly to other health conditions caused by viruses. This can be done through taking a tissue sample, using blood or saliva. As of current, about 78 local and state public labs in the USA across 50 states are in a position to test for this virus. These labs have a total capacity to test about 75,000 individuals.
Therefore, if you suspect that you might be infected by the coronavirus, you are advised to talk to health officials in your locality. They will further advise you on whether it is necessary to take a test or not.
In a case where you are recommended to take a test, the lab expert will take either a sample of your blood or use a cotton swab to take a sample of your saliva or breathing secretions from your throat. The sample is then take to a testing facility where for confirmation of viral material that is designed to respond to the virus.
How to Minimize the Spread of Covid-19 and Stay Safe?
Since there is no vaccine that has been developed so far to prevent infection of COVID_19, the best thing to do is following precautions that will ensure you are not exposed to this virus.
As we discussed earlier, the virus is mostly spread when people are in close range with an infected person. That said, here are a few tips that will help you prevent the coronavirus disease-2019.
1. Sanitize Your Hands Frequently
Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent COVID-19. You need to thoroughly clean your hands using water and soap for around 20 seconds. This is a step that you should never miss especially after spending time in a public place.
Also, make sure you clean your hands after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose. You can also use a hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol content.
2. Cover Your Mouth When Coughing or Sneezing
Use a tissue to cover your mouth whenever you cough or sneeze. In other cases, you can utilize the inside of your elbow as it is equally effective.
3. Stay Indoors if Sick
If you are sick, or are experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, stay at home unless you are going out to get medical care. This will help to reduce the spread of the virus.
4. Avoid Unnecessary Close Contact
If COVID-19 becomes very rampant in your locality, ensure that you keep a distance between you and other people. This is especially important to people who are high risk individuals due to underlying health conditions.
5. Utilize Face Masks
Wear a face mask when around other people if you are sick. Also, ensure the people who are taking care of you during your illness wear a face mask before interacting with you. There is no need to use a mask if you are not ill. Since there might be shortage of the masks, it is good if we reserve them for only the caregivers.
6. Disinfect Shared Facilities in the House
There are certain facilities that will be frequently touched throughout the day. These surfaces include sinks, faucets, doorknobs, desks, countertops, toilets, handles and keyboards. Also, clean any untidy surfaces make sure you use disinfecting detergents to clean them.
7. Social Distancing
This is an effective technique that will help in slowing down spread of COVID-19. Social distancing includes doing some practical things like limiting your social and physical interaction with other people. Social distancing includes:
- Avoiding unnecessary physical greetings and handshaking
- Consider minimizing travel and outings
- Avoid going to the stores and purchase your goods online if possible
- Reschedule any meetings or social gatherings
- Consider holding meetings through video conferencing and phone calls
- Working from home
With the rapid increase of COVID-19, more and more people are likely to contract this virus. However, if everyone observes all the preventive measures we have discussed, it will be easier to minimize the spread of this virus. Also, it is important that you contact the health providers in your locality if you have any COVID-19 related symptoms.