The world has been anxious about the recent outbreak of coronavirus, which has no cure yet and has made quite a lot of panic all around, especially in Wuhan and surrounding regions, where coronavirus was first detected. The symptoms of this virus are similar to those common flu, making it challenging to detect and differentiate between them.
Disease caused by the novel coronavirus officially has a name: Covid-19
What is Coronavirus?
It belongs to a group of pathogens that affects birds, mammals and humans as well. The viruses belonging to this group are not – so dangerous. It can affect the respiratory system for humans and can cause diseases like common flu, SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and MERS.
The virus is unknow to medical science and its very common that one can imagine.
You've all heard about the coronavirus – but what do we really know about it? #AJStartHere answers questions about the virus.
Posted by Al Jazeera English on Thursday, February 6, 2020
Coronavirus that affects human;
- NL63, 229E
These can cause upper – respiratory trace illnesses from mild to severe and are contagious to some extent, like other common cold. It affects humans with low immunity. So, older people, pregnant women, kids and people suffering from diseases like cancer, heart disease, etc. are likely to be affected by the virus.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
As mentioned above, the virus has similar which are similar to the common flu. Some of the signs and symptoms that you must be aware of are;
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Breathing problems
- Pneumonia or inflammation in lungs
Since it can be hard for a layman to recognize the symptoms and the virus and the common flu, it can be hard to identify the illness. Also, the virus includes an incubation period of up to fourteen days, and it’s imperative that you seek immediate medical attention if you seen any of the symptoms mentioned above or worsen beyond seven to ten days.
Some patients haven’t had a fever in the beginning or might have walking pneumonia which means they might develop the infections to others as they are not sick enough to be in a hospital.
We are sure that the news will be disturbing, but with following some preventive measures you can keep you and your family safe.
Is there any test to confirm?
Public – health official has developed a test, which are being used to confirm whether the patients have the new virus or any other infection.
How many people have been affected so far?
In the UK, three cases have been confirmed. More than 43,000 have been confirmed since the outbreak and more than 500 people have died. The vast majority of cases are in China but the outbreak has spread to 27 other countries.
In the US, the risk is low, the CDC says. Also, to screening arriving international passengers, the agency has recommended health – care providers around the country to lookout for patients with indications and a history of travel to China.
Outside China, Philippines was the first country reported death from the virus.
In India, seven positive cases have been so far, all of which are from Kerala, Also Coronavirus have reached Chennai. Four cases have been admitted so far in chennai Stanley hospital.
Any Indians left in Wuhan?
More than 600 Indians from Wuhan have evacuated.
How did the outbreak start?
The virus is believed to be a “Wet market” in Wuhan, which sells a huge variety of living and death animals which also includes birds and fish. Such markets pose the majority of outbreak risk jumping from animals to humans as hygiene standards are tough to maintain if live animals are being butchered on site. Also, the places are closely packed and very busy.
Is the virus like Sers and Mers?
Yes – but its nowhere near as fatal
Severe acute respiratory syndrome or Sers and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) are also viruses which can cause immense respiratory infections. They also sprung from bats which jumps to human through civet cats and Mers from camels.
Who is most at risk?
Adults of all ages are also infected. The first 425 patients in Wuhan was fifty-nine years old and fifty six percent were male. Many of the patients who died were over sixty years old, has other illnesses like diabetes and were admitted to hospitals with advanced illness.
Is the virus mutating?
No, coronavirus has remained stable genetically, according to WHO and the U.S . CDC.
What can you do to prevent it?
Since low immunity is the prime reason to contact coronavirus, boosting it seems like an excellent way to keep it at bay.
- Staying hydrate
- Get plenty of rest
- Take nutritious diet to build a strong immune system
- Take medication for fever, cold and cough
- Follow personal hygiene – washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, use 60% alcohol – based sanitizer, keep surrounding clean, cover the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. Never use tissues again if used.
- Avoid visiting crowded places
- Try avoiding visiting live farms
- Never consume raw meat and milk without double boiling it
- Wear gloves when handling raw meat.
Keeping yourself safe from the virus
- If you are travelling abroad, especially to a destination that has a substantial number of illness reported due to virus, make sure to boost your immunity and carry the essential medications for cold, cough and fever.
- Health screenings are being performed by various international airports to avoid deportation and importation of visitors affected by the virus. Cancel travel plans, if you feel you have flu.
- Get yourself checked immediately, if you have contact with patients affected by the virus.
- Consult a doctor immediately, if you experience breathing issues along with cough, fever and cold.
- Avoid eating out, make sure the restaurants follow basic guidelines of food safety, hygiene and food handling.
Should I buy a mask to protect myself?
Health experts have reported that there’s no good evidence to support the use of masks for preventing coronavirus. Masks are useful, if you have respiratory infection and want to reduce the risk of spread to others.
Is my city at risk of the outbreak?
Its really Southeast and East Asia that are most at threat. The researchers from the University of Oxford have suggested a list of countries that might see outbreaks.
Source – Oxford Journal of Travel Medicine
Staying healthy during the outbreak
Densely populated Asian countries, its not uncommon to see people wearing medical masks on their faces, and you might have seen videos online. Especially in Wuhan, you will see everyone wearing one. This is because these masks are not fool – proof can lessen the chances of breathing in air – borne projectiles like sneezing and coughing – if used properly.
Washing the hands properly
To stop spreading the diseases, wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. Some tips suggested by CDC are;
- Before and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Washing hands before and after caring for someone at home who is sick
- Wash hand well after treating a wound or cut
- After using the washroom
- After changing diapers for kids.
- After blowing your nose, sneezing and coughing
- After touching garbage
- After handling pet food and treats
Avoiding public transportation
The combination of hoards of people, packed closely in tubes and all touching the same doors and handles is not absolute when avoiding an illness. You could make the ride a bit easier by following a few steps.
- Never sit to anyone sick. Don’t take risk!
- Check your backseat before sitting down
- Again, the golden rule: clean your hands thoroughly after getting of the public transportation. Especially, if you have touched the poles and other surfaces.
Gloves does not have to be changed frequently, but an effective way to avoid bodily fluids. The main culprit, saliva can easily spread through sneezing or coughing into hands and then ride on a public transport. This is why the vampire sneeze or elbow sneeze or sleeve sneeze, what ever you call it, is another excellent way to avoid getting spread the virus.
Other bodily fluids like blood, vomit or urine which all includes a high risk or cross – contamination. Never wear gloves while making food.
The little things go a long way, whether its bacteria or precaution. There are various small things that can make huge difference, which also includes cell phone screens, alcohol-based wipes. Etc. they are not often overlooked way of spreading the virus. Its better to disinfect the screen first before attending voice call on your mobile phone.
I’m pregnant. Should I be concerned?
Yes, but no more than you will be about coming down with the flu. While there is very limited source on the virus currently, we don’t know that preggies must be vigilant when it comes to lessening the risk of infection.
When you are pregnant, your immune system changes, making it more susceptible to respiratory infections – which is why its essential to vaccinate against influenza and whooping cough.
Remember that there is no vaccination for this virus, there are established precautions for preggos and those around you, can take:
- Practicing good hygiene – washing your hands thoroughly with mild soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds specifically after going to the washroom and before consuming anything. Invest in an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or rub.
- Avoid touching the nose, mouth and eyes with unclean hands; and
- Keep a meter distance away from people who have respiratory disease.
Recently a Chinese baby has been diagnosed with virus after thirty hours of birth in the epicenter city of Wuhan. Being the youngest person to ger infected with coronavirus has already killed almost five hundred people.
Are airlines flying to China?
Air India, IndiGo and other Indian airlines have suspended flights and other Indian airlines as well to China over the outbreak risks.
Chinese Doctor who warned about the outbreak first dies
Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, one of the eight who warned about the outbreak died of the epidemic. Li, was the one who tried to warn other medics, died of virus in Wuhan.
Is it safe to eat Chinese food?
You don’t have to stop indulging in Chinese food or beer from your local take – away, despite dears on social media. The World Health Organization has suggested its safe to receive letters and packages from China.
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Special Thanks to #DrArunKalyanasundaram