What is the Coronavirus?
It is newly identified virus that is part of the coronavirus family and has never been encountered before with this recent outbreak called COVID-19. There are many different kinds and like other coronaviruses, it has transferred to humans from animals. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a pandemic.
The COVID-19 virus affects different people in different ways. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment. People who have underlying medical conditions and those over 60 years old have a higher risk of developing severe disease and death.
Based on the information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, with the most common symptoms related to the coronavirus being fever, cough and shortness of breath.
The table below shows a list of further potencial symptoms and the percentage of cases with the symptoms based on data from 55,924 confirmed cases reported by China.
Notably, the COVID-19 infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or nauseousness (these symptoms have been observed in only about 5% of patients). Nauseousness, sneezing, and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold.
The below table is based on data and studies from the CDC and World Health Organisation.
|Mild Infection||Flu-like Symptoms such as fever, tiredness, cough||Can recover at home||Around 80%||14 days|
|Severe Infection||Severe Symptoms such as pneumonia and shortness of breath||Hospitalization||Around 15%||3-6 weeks|
|Critical Infection||Respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure||Intensive care||Around 5%||3-6 weeks|
People who are at a higher risk
COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- People aged 65 years and older
- People with underlining health conditions
- People in a nursing home or care facility
- People who are pregnant
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of exposure to the disease.
When to see a doctor
Contact your doctor or clinic right away if you have COVID-19 symptoms, if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or you live in or have traveled from an area with ongoing community spread of COVID-19 as determined by CDC and WHO. Call your doctor ahead to tell him or her about your symptoms and recent travels and possible exposure before you go to your appointment.
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. Symptoms of a coronavirus usually go away on their own. If symptoms feel worse than a common cold, contact your doctor. He or she may prescribe pain or fever medication.
As with a cold or the flu, drink fluids and get plenty of rest. If you are having trouble breathing, seek immediate medical care.
How to prevent the coronavirus spreading and protect yourself and others
The steps below are recommended by both the CDC and World Health Organization to help protect yourself and others from getting the coronavirus or spreading it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, the virus can enter your body from your eyes, nose or mouth.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and other people.
If you are sick make sure to stay at home, except if you need to get medical care.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
You should wear a facemask when you are around other people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, switches, counters, handles, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
Avoid sharing personal items such as glasses, towels, dishes, cups, bedding and etc.
Monitor your symptoms for the coronavirus and if your symptoms gets worse contact your doctor right away.
How to cope with stress during the coronavirus
As the events surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak unfold it is understandable that you may begin to feel stressed. It is vital that you stay informed so you can follow safety advise and precautions and do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus. The is a lot of misinformation going around that only feeds into fear, it is important to be careful about what you read and watch.