COVID-19 Virus: What is It and How To Prevent It?

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What is the Covid-19 Virus?

Covid-19 is the acronym for the full name of coronavirus disease of 2019. Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that cause diseases in animals and humans. Certain types of this virus may lead to respiratory tract infections in humans with symptoms ranging from mild to serious — from the common cold to something like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

The Origin of the Covid-19 Virus Spread

This virus was unknown until the outbreak started. The first case of Covid-19 was in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Covid-19 has been declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

In late December 2019, a 55-year-old man who was a wildlife trader in Wuhan, China suffered from a persistent high fever. No one knew what the man’s illness was, but his fever lasted for more than two weeks. He also experienced respiratory problems.

Later on, it was finally identified that the man was infected with the coronavirus. He was the first case of Covid-19 patients. It was uncertain, but wild animals were believed to be the potential carriers of the virus. 

After further research, a conclusion was reached; this virus was part of the same group of viruses that caused outbreaks — SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012. WHO then named this virus as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

There was a journal published on the bioRxiv website (pronounced “bio-archive”) containing early studies of Covid-19. It is an online archive and distribution service for preprints in the life sciences. Since there were multiple men who experienced similar symptoms of Covid-19, they later became patients used as study samples. The virus was first spread in Wuhan, then other cities in China, and ultimately — around the world.

How Covid-19 Virus Is Spread

COVID-19 is predominantly spread from person to person through droplets. When you talk, cough, and sneeze, you generate respiratory droplets. These droplets travel to great distances and fall to the ground quickly. You can catch Covid-19 if you breathe in droplets from an infected person. 

Respiratory droplets can also land on surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, elevator buttons, etc — meaning you can also catch the virus from contaminated surfaces, then touching your own nose, mouth, and eyes.

Therefore, it is important to maintain, at least one-metre distance, from other people. You also have to regularly wash your hands with clean running water and soap for at least 20 seconds. You can also use hand sanitizers to clean your hands. 

Do not forget to wash off your clothes, bags, or other things that you carry with you when traveling. Be sure to clean the outer surfaces of your gadgets with antiseptic solution or disinfectant. 

Symptoms of Covid-19 Virus

Based on a statement from WHO, the most common symptoms of Covid-19 may include: 

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Tiredness

Other less common symptoms may include: 

  • Body aches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Conjunctivitis (the swelling or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. 
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Skin rash
  • Discoloration of fingers or toes

These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. About 80% of people infected with Covid-19 can recover without needing special treatment. However, about 1 in 5 people experience severe pain and difficulty breathing.

When to Seek Medical Treatment? 

If you experience mild symptoms such as cough and low-grade fever, you may not require medical attention. However, you are advised to self-isolate at home for 14 days and continue monitoring your symptoms.

However, if you live in an area with malaria or dengue fever, it is important that you seek immediate medical help. Be sure to wear a mask when you attend the health facility. If you have children, help them understand the current situation and encourage them to stick to the advice. 

People at High Risk from Covid-19 Virus

Certain medical conditions and risk for Covid-19 may include: 

  • Elderly people
  • People with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, lung disorders, diabetes, or cancer

Anyone can be infected with Covid-19 and experience serious symptoms. If you think you have the symptoms listed earlier, please contact your healthcare provider immediately. 

Although children and adolescents are less likely to be infected with Covid-19, it is best for them to adhere to the health protocols. It is also advised for them to maintain a distance with parents and other people who have serious illnesses.

Difference Between Self-isolation, Self-Quarantine, and Physical Distancing

Self-isolation means separating people who are infected with Covid-19 and those who have the possibility of person-to person transmission.

Self-quarantine means restricting activities or separating people who are not infected, yet likely to be infected. This aims to prevent the spread of the virus when the person has new symptoms.

Physical distancing is maintaining, at least 1-metre distance, between yourself and others — even if you feel fine and do not have any symptoms of Covid-19.

Guidelines for Self-Quarantine

If you are going into self-quarantine, you can do the following: 

  • Provide your own room with good air circulation. Make sure the room has a toilet. If not possible, it is best the room is close to one. 
  • If you cannot provide your own room and you have to share with someone else, separate your bed. Ensure that you are at least 1 meter away from other people
  • Self-isolation lasts for 14 days
  • Always maintain 1-metre distance —  even with your family members
  • Always monitor your daily symptoms 
  • Self-isolate yourself for 14 days after you return from travelling
  • If you have developed difficulty in breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately
  • Do not panic. Try to stay positive and be strong. 

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