Coronavirus diseases (COVID-19)
In this article, we provide you well-searched information on coronavirus disease. Know more about this disease so that you can help yourself and others by taking optimum measures to avoid panic and ensure safety.
Most of the information collected is data provided by UNICEF and WHO and is simplified for better understanding.
What Is Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus belongs to the family of the virus responsible for causing illness in both animals and humans. There are several coronaviruses that in humans cause respiratory illness ranging from common cold and flu to lung diseases such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome or acute respiratory syndrome.
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus; this is why it is termed as ‘novel.’
The first case of COVID-19 was identified in China in December 2019.
Only four months back, coronavirus emerged and already the world dealing with the pandemic of the disease.
Most of the infected patients recover at home. Some need hospitalization, and despite the best efforts, some infected patients are dying. The scientists are unable to give the exact fatality rate due to coronavirus disease because the outbreak is still in its early stage. However, there is widespread consequences that elderly patients and those with pre-existing health conditions are most in danger.
The symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after the exposure. The symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
Other symptoms can include
- Body Aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
The severity of the symptoms ranges from very mild to severe. Some people may show no symptoms. Elderly and people with have existing chronic medical conditions; such lung disease, diabetes and heart disease are at the risk of serious illness.
What Coronavirus Does to the Human Body
In most of the cases, coronavirus causes mild disease. Let us learn in detail what it does to the body
The Incubation Period – The incubation period is the time between being infected and the appearance of the first symptoms. After attacking the body, the virus establishes itself. It gets inside the body cells. First, it infects the cell’s lining throat, airways, and lungs, where they multiply and infect more cells. This is the early stage. You may not be sick or develop any symptoms.
The incubation period on an average is of 5 days but may vary.
Mild Diseases Stage – Most of the people being infected by COVID-19 experience a mild infection. The core symptoms include fever and dry cough. However, headache, sore throat, and body ache may also be present. The cough is dry due to the irritation of infected cells. The fever is a result of our immune system’s response to the infection and the release of chemical cytokines to fight infection.
Eventually, some people may start coughing up sputum that contains dead lung cells killed by the virus.
The mild symptoms are treated by paracetamol, bed rest, and drinking plenty of fluids. You may not need hospitalization. This stage lasts about a week. In most cases, the immune system fights off the virus.
However, some people may develop symptoms that are more serious.
Sever disease – In some cases, the immune system may overreact to the virus, and infection progresses to severe. The virus causes an imbalance in the immune system. Too much inflammation causes collateral damage throughout the body. The inflammation of the lungs leads to pneumonia, which causes difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath. Some people suffering from severe diseases may need a ventilator to help to breathe.
Critical Stage – Approximately 6 % of cases become crucial ill. The hyperactive immune system now starts causing damage to its own body. The body begins to fail. Blood pressure may drop to dangerously low levels, and blood pressure drops. The body organs stop working. Widespread inflammation in the lung causes acute respiratory distress syndrome. In the absence of enough oxygen that is required to survive, the kidneys stop cleaning blood, the linings of the intestines is damaged, and there is a multi-organ failure.
How COVID-19 spreads
COVID-19 is highly contagious, and its rapid spread has prompted global alarm.
Assessment of the ongoing research on coronavirus spreads is still going on.
Based on the findings updated until now, it is established that COVID-19 spread from one person to another through small droplets from mouth or nose that spread when a person infected with COVID-19 exhales or coughs. If others breathe the droplets expelled from infected people, they catch COVID-19. Also, the infected droplets land on objects or surfaces around the person. Other people who touch these surfaces and objects infected with COVID-19 and then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes also get infected. This is why it is suggested to stay at least 3 meters away from a sick person and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
Although the risk of catching COVID-19 from someone without symptoms is shallow, you still never know who is carrying the infection. In addition, in most cases, during the early stage, the symptoms are mild and thus ignored. This is why it is suggested to maintain social distancing.
When to See Doctor
Call health care team if you have symptoms of COVID-19, if you have been exposed to a patient suffering with COVID-19 or have a history of travelling to area with ongoing community spread or coronavirus 9 COVID-19).
How can you protect yourself
The future is still unpredictable, better take precautions, and reduce the chances of infection.
- Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact. Maintain social distance. Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and others. Especially with those who have flu-like symptoms.
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose.
- Maintain respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth while sneezing or coughing. Use a tissue and throw the tissue into a closed bin or use the flexed elbow.
- Stay home, especially if you feel unwell. Call medical attention, if you have a fever accompanied by dry cough and difficulty in breathing.
- Avoid traveling to places where COVID – 19 is spreading widely. In case of an emergency check the travel advisory for the
- place before you planning any travel
- Carry hand sanitizer, a packet of disposable tissues and disinfecting wipes always with you wherever you go.
- In case you have recently visited areas where COVID-19 is spreading, be responsible and self-isolates yourself, stay at home. Seek medical attention if you feel unwell.
- The use of a medical mask is advised if you have respiratory symptoms like coughing or sneezing, to protect other people. In case of the absence of any symptoms, there is no need to wear any medical mask. Dispose of the mask properly to ensure protection against transmitting the disease. It is essential to understand that using masks alone is not sufficient in protecting the infection, frequent hand wash, avoiding close contact with an infected person, maintaining respiratory hygiene. CDC does not recommend wearing a medical mask if one does not have COVID-19.
WHO also recommends:
- Avoid eating undercooked meat, raw meat or animal organs.
- Avoid contact surfaces and animals if you are visiting areas that have recently had new coronavirus cases.
As of now, there is no vaccine or treatment available for COVID -19; only symptomatic treatment is provided. Thus, there is a universal agreement on the point that we will be able to do nothing if we do not take steps to control the spread of coronavirus. The best you can do is absorbs as much information you can gather from reliable sources, learn from it, stay quarantine, and break its spread.
Stay healthy, eat healthily, and include foods rich in vitamin C in your diet to boost immunity. Avoid alcohol or tobacco-based product.
Update yourself with news from trusted sites like WHO, UNICEF, CDC, and government organization of the respective state. Keep yourself well informed, acknowledge the facts, and avoid being panic.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are my chances to catch COVID-19?
How likely you are to catch COVID-19 depends on where you are. You are more at risk if you are residing in an area where the outbreak is unfolding. Besides, people visiting these areas and meeting infected patients are at risk. Health authorities and government is taking vigorous actions by complying restrictions on large gathering, movements, and travel. Cooperate to control the outbreak. Stay home. Stay safe.
What is the current treatment available for COVID- 19?
To date, there is no specific antiviral
medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19. Symptomatic treatment is given to the
patients. Eighty percent-infected patients recover with rest and proper diet and
fluid intake. However, patients with severe illness may require hospitalization
and supportive care.
Possible specific drugs and vaccines are
under investigation and are being tested through clinical trials.
Will the mask protect me from COVID-19?
WHO insists on wearing a mask only if you are
ill. You may use a disposable mask if you have to visit the area of an outbreak due
to an emergency. The disposable mask can be used only once. Better, dispose of the mask
when you reach home, and wash hands properly. Else if you are not ill and not
seeing someone who is sick, you are wasting masks. Use mask wisely.
To avoid misuse of masks, WHO advises
social distancing. Maintain at least 1-meter distance from others.
Frequently clean your hands and cover cough with elbow bend or tissue. Make
sure to dispose of the tissue properly after use.
Can I catch COVID-19 from pets?
To date, only one instance of a dog
being infected by COVID-19 has been reported. There is no evidence that any pet
can transmit COVID-19. Still play safe and avoid touching animals in areas of
How long COVID-19 survives on any surface?
Although it is not clear how long
COVID-19 survives on fabrics and surfaces. But if it seems to behave like other
coronaviruses, it may persist on the surfaces from few hours to several days, depending
on the type of the surface, humidity, and temperature. Better, clean the surface with
disinfectant if you think it may be infected.
Can we receive packages from areas where COVID-19 has been reported?
The likelihood of an infected person contaminating
any good is low. Thus, the risk of catching novel coronavirus that has
traveled moved and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is low.
Still, to be on the safe side, better wash your hands after receiving and
What else I should not do to do?
We request you not to take antibiotics
unless prescribed by the doctor and avoid smoking.
What are the precautions to be taken while putting on, taking off and disposing mask?
First, the mask should only be worn by the health
workers and individuals with symptoms such as fever and cough and those taking
care of sick. Clean your hands thoroughly before touching the mask. Make sure the mask
does not have tears or holes. The side that has metal strip is the top side.
Orient that side. The colored side should be outward. Place the mask on the face
and pinch off the stiff edge so that it molds to the shape of the nose. Pull down
the mask so that it covers mouth and chin. After use, take off the mask. Remove
elastic loops behind the ears keeping the mask away from your face and clothes.
Better, avoid potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask. Immediately after use,
discard the mask in a closed bin. After discarding the mask, wash your hands thoroughly.
Will the rise in temperature slows the spread of corona-virus?
Experts say that heat and sunlight may; limit
the growth and longevity of coronavirus. However, nothing is certain, and the study
is still ongoing. Thus, observing proper hygiene is more effective.