CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19)

Recently, the outbreak of a disease, named novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) which was never encountered or heard before started affecting some people from the city of China, Wuhan, a city with a population of around 11 million, in December 2019 and then it spreads throughout the whole world and in March 2020 World Health Organization (WHO) declared it as pandemic disease. It spread to more than 203 countries and territories around the world. Many early cases of COVID-19 are linked with the “Huanan seafood wholesale market” Wuhan and then different numbers of cases started getting reported from different countries daily.

Covid-19 | CoronaVirus

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is an infectious and contagious respiratory virus that replicates in the airway and causes infection in the airway and makes it difficult for the infected person to breathe properly.

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses and is considered as Zoonotic viruses (viruses that spread through animals b/w animals and people). They have crown like-spikes on their surface which can be seen under electron microscopy. Due to these spikes, they were named on a Latin word “Corona” which means “Crown”.

Coronaviruses were first discovered in the middle of the 1960s and they can cause mild symptoms like the common cold and in some cases, they can cause severe diseases. Many coronaviruses are circulating in animals and some are circulating in humans. Rarely, one of the viruses infecting and circulating in animals may evolve to infect humans and spread disease between them.

In humans, several coronaviruses are circulating which causes respiratory diseases such as SARS or MERS. The virus causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS was discovered in 2002, was associated with Civet Cats, and the virus causing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS was discovered in 2012 and was associated with Dromedary Camels. 

The novel Coronavirus COVID-19 is associated with Bats and is genetically related to the virus of SARS-CoV, but the diseases they both causes are quite different. Hence, COVID-19 is also known as SARS-CoV2.

Covid-19 | CoronaVirus

What is a severe acute respiratory syndrome?

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS – CoV is a strain of Coronavirus which causes respiratory illness, was discovered in 2003. Its origin is thought to be Bats and later these viruses passed from Bats to Civet Cats and from Civet Cats to Humans in the Guangdong province of Southern China in 2002-2003, during this time 8000 cases were reported and 774 deaths occur. Since then a small number of cases have occurred. It did not spread worldwide.

What are the symptoms of sars-cov?

SARS-CoV symptoms include:

  • Fever (which is the very first and frequently reported symptom)
  • Cough (initially dry)
  • Malaise or Fatigue
  • Myalgia or muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea and Shivering
  • In some cases, respiratory symptoms can be worse and lead to Shortness of Breath and serious cases may rapidly progress to Pneumonia or Respiratory distress and may require oxygen or mechanical ventilation.

What is Middle East respiratory syndrome?

Covid-19 | CoronaVirus

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS- CoV is also a strain of Coronavirus and also known as Camel Flu. MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory disease caused by coronavirus back then in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. Its origin is the same as of SAR-CoV, which originated from Bats later on passed to Dromedary Camels and from Camels to Human. Studies have shown that approximately, 80% of cases were reported by Saudi Arabia and approximately35% of patients died. It spread to 27 countries and ended up as an Epidemic disease.

What are the symptoms of MERS-cov?

MERS-CoV sometimes can be asymptomatic (no symptoms) or can show symptoms from mild to severe acute respiratory disease and death.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath (SOB)
  • Pneumonia is a common finding but is not always present.
  • Diarrhea
  • In severe cases, it can cause Respiratory failure and results in the need for mechanical ventilation and intensive care.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of CoVID-19?

Covid-19 | CoronaVirus

Coronavirus maybe sometimes asymptomatic (no symptoms) and sometimes can show mild to severe symptoms. The virus has up to 2-14 days of incubation period before showing symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Some people may also feel a loss of smell and taste.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing leading to oxygen support or mechanical ventilation.

How COVID-19 spreads?

Covid-19 | CoronaVirus

Animals are the main source from where this infection is transmitted to people and then transmitted from one infected person to 2,3 or more people.

  • It transmits from coughing or sneezing droplets of the infected person. These droplets stick on the surfaces and things around the infected person. Other people then catch the virus by touching these surfaces and things and then get infected by touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • It might also be transmitted by touching something an infected person has touched, and then you start eating something without washing hands properly.
  • It also transmits from close contact with an infected person.

How to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

The spread can be easily prevented by taking simple precautions:

  • Wash hands often properly (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water.
  • Do not touch your face, mouth, or eyes without washing hands.
  • Avoid large parties, gatherings, and meetings.
  • Avoid going out from home unnecessarily.
Covid-19 | CoronaVirus

WHO suggested staying at home during the Coronavirus outbreak to stay safe and prevent the spread. But if it is needful to go out from home then:

  • Cover face by a face mask and keep a hand sanitizer with you when going out and use hand sanitizer hourly or after touching surfaces and things.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from others especially from those who are coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid hand-shaking at the workplace or from the people you meet.
  • Cover mouth and nose elbow sleeve or tissue instead of palm at the time of coughing or sneezing and then dispose of the tissue immediately.
  • Clean all equipment (e.g.: smartphones, laptops, earphones, keys, shoes, clothes, etc.) and take bath or at least wash hands before touching anything after coming home from outside.

Who are at high risk from COVID-19?   

The virus can cause serious medical complications to some people like severe pneumonia and organ failure in several organs eventually causing death.

  • Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as hypertension, cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, cancer, or diabetes) are at higher risk than others of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

What is the treatment of COVID-19?

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 up till now but supportive care can be highly effective for the patient who shows the symptoms mentioned above.

  • People infected from the virus should be hospitalized and kept isolated.
  • Supportive care such as analgesics, cough syrup, rest, and frequent fluid intake will help in relieving symptoms.
  • There is currently no vaccine or antiviral for COVID-19, however, several medical trials, experiments, and researches have been going on to conclude the treatment of COVID-19.

If you have a cough and you’ve recently traveled from areas affected by CoV, then you should stay isolated and call the doctor to ask them for further protocols.

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Hey there my name is Ghyna Samar I’m a student of Respiratory Therapy, currently
completing my bachelor’s from the Dow University of Health Sciences, despite being a medical student I also have many interests and one of them is “Content writing”, and for this interest, I had also earned a certificate of achievement for “How to Create Great Online Content” by University of Leeds & Institute of Coding. Moreover, I’m dedicated to making myself a more specialized healthcare practitioner in critical care and cardio-pulmonary medicine and theory to practical knowledge of high-tech equipment, such as mechanical ventilators, CPAP & BIPAP machines, oxygen concentrators, and accumulate experience in advising patients to defeat respiratory obstacles and in spite of my devotion to the medical profession I’m also a lively and helping person who loves to provide best pieces of advice and knowledge to my fellows through my writing skills.

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