If the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus disease is making you lose sleep, then read on to know everything about this disease. Armed with the right information, you can take the appropriate measures to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from contracting the disease.
What Is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that were first identified in the 1960s and found in animals as well as humans. They get their name from their crown-like shape. They are known to cause illnesses in humans ranging from common cold to the more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that had kept the globe on tenterhooks a few years back.
In the December of 2019, a new type of coronavirus caused the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. The World Health Organisation or the WHO officially named the virus 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV) and the disease as COVID-19 which can be fatal. On the 11th of February, 2019, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named 2019-nCOV as “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” or SARS-CoV-2 due to its genetic similarity to the virus that causes SARS. COVID was first reported in Wuhan, China, but quickly spread throughout the world.
Where did the new coronavirus come from?
People who had visited the Huanan seafood market, a local seafood and animal market in Wuhan were the first victims of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. So, the officials believe that the virus was most likely transmitted from an animal to humans, but the animal is yet to be identified. A new study, however, reveals that the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 is about 88% similar to two coronaviruses that originated in bats. But the Huanan seafood market didn’t sell bats, and therefore the search for the animal that acted as the medium of transmission of the virus to humans is still on.
How does the coronavirus spread between people?
Most coronaviruses spread just like cold-causing viruses in the following manner:
- Infected people coughing and sneezing
- Touching the hands or face of infected people
- Touching the things infected people have touched such as doorknobs
Though researchers are still trying to understand the exact way that SARS-CoV-2 spreads, but respiratory droplets produced from coughs and sneezes are the most likely transmitters. Tests show the presence of the virus in the patients’ stool making fecal contamination a strong transmitter too.
Why you need to know about this new virus
As of 31st January, 2020, WHO has recorded 10,000 confirmed cases and 213 confirmed deaths due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Though 99% of the cases and all of the deaths have been in China, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that 26 countries have reported cases including 6 cases in the US. There is no denying the fact that in the connected world of today, these numbers will only rise because each infected person could potentially spread the infection to many others. It is, therefore, quite important to get reliable information regarding the virus and the disease to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Symptoms of COVID
Symptoms of COVID are very similar to common cold and include:
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms show up anytime between 2 and 14 days after exposure to the infection. Infections can range from mild to serious and may cause fatality if it leads to pneumonia, respiratory failure or septic shock. The elderly, children and people with weakened immune systems are more at risk of death. In case of any suspicion, please take the patients to one of the wellness centres in Bangalore.
Prevention Measures against Corona Virus
Since there is no vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 as of now, preventions seems to be the best cure for COVID and following are some of the simple yet effective measures to it at bay:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before consuming any food
- Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Avoid close contact with people who are infected
- Avoid visiting crowded places and if unavoidable, wear a mask for sure
- While visiting hospitals wear a mask and clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as soon as you come out
- Avoid non-veg food especially from hotels as we are unsure about the hygiene measures adopted there to store and cook meat
- Drink warm or hot water
- If a family member is experiencing the symptoms of common cold including cough, sneezing and fever, take him/her to a general physician in Bangalore, more so if the person is elderly
- Fume the house with dhoop, sambrani or cow dung cakes as they are known to be excellent disinfectants
Simple home remedies to strengthen your immune system
Following are some very simple home remedies that can give a boost to your immune system and keep you fighting fit against a lot of germs, viruses and infections:
- Boil milk with turmeric and consume it about half an hour before you go to sleep everyday
- Begin your mornings with a concoction of honey, lemon and warm water
- Take a clove of garlic daily
- Take probiotic supplements.
Beware of false and misleading posts in Social media about coronavirus
Just like the COVID-19 is spreading its fangs over the world, so is the misinformation about it. The social media is an easy way for pranksters to spread false and misleading information. There have been numerous instances of people sharing unverified news items and unproven advice/tips for coronavirus treatment.
As a responsible citizen of the world and social media user, it is every one’s responsibility to get their information from trustworthy sources only. In addition, refrain from forwarding and reposting every piece of information you receive without checking its veracity.