Since December of 2019, the world is experiencing one of the worst pandemics of 21st century after 2009’s H1N1 influenza, COVID-19 or the Coronavirus disease 2019 is a new strain of the virus which was previously undiscovered and belongs to the large family of Coronaviruses ; a group of viruses that usually infect and cause disease in mammals and birds.
In humans, this group of viruses appears in the form of respiratory tract infection that can range from mild levels of cold or fever to fatal levels of pneumonia and multi-organ failure. Interestingly, it shares the same origin with other epidemics which have affected the 21 st century on a global scale SARS and MERS, although on a greater scale. The rate of infection and spread of COVID-19 is far greater than the SARS and MERS epidemic, with 14, 171 + deaths and 339,645+ confirmed infected cases globally, this pandemic has forced countries to halt production and enforce a curfew for preventing further spread of infection.
Here is little information about COVID-19 that can help you become aware and take preventive actions against this global pandemic:
Signs & Symptoms
Generally, those infected with COVID-19 show mild flu-like symptoms such as cold, fever, sore throat and shortness of breath in the initial stages. These symptoms appear within 2-14 days from the date of infection.
As the disease further progresses it can cause difficulty in breathing, frequent chest pains, dizziness, difficulty in walking, abnormal heartbeat, etc. In severe cases COVID-19 causes pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome and multi-organ failure eventually leading to death.
The COVID-19 primarily spreads between people via respiratory droplets such as cough and sneezes. Thus, one is at high risk of infection by having close contact with people infected with COVID-19 or by touching surfaces that may have come in contact with droplets such as hands, elevator switch, office tools, etc. The rate of decay of the virus on different material surfaces such as copper, cardboard, plastic, etc. can range from 4 hours to 72 hours.
High Risk Group
COVID-19 has a high chance of infecting people with weak immune system, older age and serious underlying medical condition such as those suffering from heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. Pregnant mothers are also very susceptible to be infected by COVID-19.
As the virus is spread via close contact taking a few preventive steps can help avoid exposure to infection. The following is a list of preventive measures:
- Wash hands regularly with soap and use hand sanitizer after having touched a contact surface such as hands, table, files, computer, handrails, etc.
- Avoid touching face with unwashed hand.
- Maintain suitable distance or currently trending term ‘social distance’ from others.
- Avoid densely populated places such malls, markets, public transportation etc.
- Avoid contact with pets and other animals.
- Wear a face mask within and outside home.
- Cough and sneeze into tissues and securely dispose them in trash bin and wash hands promptly afterwards.
- Avoid sharing personal items and disinfect rooms and equipments routinely.
- Constantly monitor symptoms and contact doctors immediately in case of abnormality.
Home isolation is currently the best solution to tackle this pandemic as there are no treatments or vaccine available to cure COVID-19. As with any disease prevention is always better than cure.