Coronavirus : Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19??
coronavirus that originated in China has spread globally, killing thousands and infecting tens of thousands more.The pandemic has affected the economy, travel and politics and sparked fear as Americans are beginning to feel the “significant disruption” as health officials had warned.
What is a coronavirus? Is it the same as COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold; others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses.
The coronavirus referenced in news headlines is a newly identified strand. The disease from this new coronavirus is officially named COVID-19, while the virus itself is called SARS-CoV-2.
The new virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 and has since spread globally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these first reported cases had links to a live animal market, suggesting the outbreak started from animal-to-person spread.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Patients with COVID-19 experience mild to severe respiratory illnesses. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing and can appear two to 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.
Emergency warning signs include:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breathPersistent pain or pressure in the chestNew confusion or inability to arouseBluish lips or face
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately. Please note that the list is not all-inclusive.
The average time from exposure to developing symptoms is five to six days, but can be up to two weeks.
About 15% develop severe disease, including pneumonia, Chinese scientists reported from 45,000 cases there. Scientists have estimated the fatality rate from less than 1% to as high as 4% among cases diagnosed so far, depending on location.
Flu kills about 0.1% of those it infects, so the new virus seems about 10 times more lethal, the National Institutes of Health’s Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress last week.
The coronavirus mainly spreads from human to human. Like the common cold, the virus is transmitted through droplets when a person coughs or sneezes.
It’s also possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface with the virus on it before touching their mouth, face or eyes.
The virus can live in the air for several hours, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. Cleaning surfaces with solutions containing diluted bleach should kill it.
Each infected person spreads to two or three others on average, researchers estimate. It spreads more easily than flu but less than measles, tuberculosis or some other respiratory diseases.
The agency also said the virus has been observed spreading easily and sustainably in the community (a.k.a. “community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.
What can I do to prevent myself from getting sick? Do face masks actually work?
Here are protective measures everyone can take, according to the World Health Organization:
Wash your hands. Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water in order to kill potential viruses.Stay away from coughing and sneezing. Stand at least three feet away from a person who is sick to avoid being sprayed with small liquid droplets from their bodies.Avoid touching your face. The virus can enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth and make you sick.
Even though many images used for coronavirus-related news coverage show people wearing face masks, the CDC advises healthy people not to wear them.
Sick people, however, should wear masks in order to prevent the spread of germs.
Face masks are also recommended for health care professionals and people who care for individuals with respiratory illness symptoms. WHO recommends a rational use of masks and respirators in order to avoid an unnecessary shortage for people who need them.
How can I prepare for an outbreak in my community?
In the wake of wider coronavirus spread in the U.S., people should not panic, health experts stress.
A good way to think about planning, says former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, is “if you had to be quarantined for 14 days at home,” how would you cope?
Keep a 30-day supply of food staples and medication in your home, the New York Times recommends. This is especially important for people who need prescription medication in case the outbreak triggers global shortages of specific ingredients.
Consider special needs such as allergies, medical conditions such as diabetes, babies who might need ready-to-feed formula and toddlers who might need shelf-stable milk. And don’t forget about your pets.
It seems unlikely that water service would be disrupted, but CDC’s general guidance is to have at least three gallons for each person and pet.