The respiratory disease Coronavirus has been rapidly spreading across the world and has been officially declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. It has already infected 246,773 people worldwide and has killed 10,062 people, as per the latest data revealed by Worldometer. In such turbulent times, it is best to understand — What is coronavirus and how does it spread and how can you protect yourself and your loved ones from it?
What is a coronavirus (Covid-19)?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause sickness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was only recently discovered in 2019 and has not been earlier identified in humans. It is generally transmitted from animals, and the first case was reported in China.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
As per credible data by WHO, the most common symptoms are-:
- Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
If the infection is severe, it can also cause-:
- Kidney failure
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome
- Death (worst case)
Who is most at risk during coronavirus outbreak?
While adults of all age groups have been infected by COVID-19, it is usually fatal for older people and those with other health conditions such as chronic lung disease, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A recent study in China revealed a mortality rate of 14.8% in people who were 80 years or older, and 8% in people were in the age group between 70 to 79, compared with a 2.3% mortality rate overall in the population studied. Few children have also been reported with the infection.
Of the kids who were a part of the study in China, only a small proportion were severely ill, according to the WHO.
How to protect yourself from coronavirus?
Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs tiny droplets, packed with the virus, into the air. This can be breathed in, or can spread if you touch a surface it has landed on, and then subsequently touch your nose, eyes or mouth. However, adopting these simple measures can help to protect you and loved ones from the virus:
- Wash your hands frequently for at least two minutes with soap, water or alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
- Thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
- Avoid crowded places like malls, movie halls, metros, airports, stations.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
- Keep your house and surroundings clean
- Face masks also offer some protection as they block liquid droplets. However, masks are not effective in blocking smaller aerosol particles that can pass through the material of the mask.
- Seek help: Seek early medical help if you have any of these symptoms- fever, dry cough and a difficulty in breathing. Also be honest about your travel history with your doctors and healthcare providers.
- If you have returned from an affected area in the last 15-20 days, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as much as you can.
- Avoid shaking hands with people for next few days.
Following these practices will keep you safe from the disease. While staying at home and avoiding socialization can have an impact on one’s mental wellbeing, it is important to understand the bigger picture.
We are responsible for our own health and we must be aware and sensitive towards other. It is also important not to panic or lose your cool during these turbulent times. We must have patience and faith.
Stay strong, stay safe and totally protect yoursef from coronavirus.
The article is written by By Pritika Ghura