What Does COVID-19 Actually Do To You?

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COVID-19 is the acronym for the full name of the coronavirus disease. Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that cause diseases in animals and humans.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can cause a range of breathing problems. Individuals that have other existing health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, may experience more serious symptoms.

COVID-19 can cause flu-like symptoms; fever, cough and shortness of breath that may progress to pneumonia in both lungs.

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

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

Here’s what the new coronavirus does to your lungs.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is part of the coronavirus family.

When the virus gets in your body, it comes into contact with the mucous membranes that line your nose, mouth, and eyes. The virus enters a healthy cell and uses the cell to make new virus parts. It multiplies, and the new viruses infect nearby cells.

Think of your respiratory tract as an upside-down tree. The trunk is your trachea or windpipe. It splits into smaller and smaller branches in your lungs. At the end of each branch are tiny air sacs called alveoli. This is where oxygen goes into your blood and carbon dioxide comes out.

The new coronavirus can infect the upper or lower part of your respiratory tract. It travels down your airways. The lining can become irritated and inflamed. In some cases, the infection can reach all the way down into your alveoli.

Why does COVID-19 do so much damage to the lungs?

COVID-19 infects and kills cilia cells, the hairlike cells in your lungs that clear out viruses and pollen. Without cilia cells, your lungs can fill with fluid and other stuff that should not remain in them. COVID-19 also attacks mucus cells. These cells are important because they keep the lungs moist so they can work. Mucus cells protect the lungs from bacteria or viruses.

When the lungs are under attack, they alert the body’s immune system that then sends immune cells to fight the infection. But sometimes, these immune cells kill everything, including healthy tissue. That is why many sick patients are put on oxygen or, in more severe cases, mechanical ventilation.

Why are older adults and those with other illnesses more likely to pass on from COVID-19?

As we get older, our immune systems get weaker. Smokers may also have a higher risk of becoming very ill or dying since smoking damages the lungs and airways and this virus is a respiratory virus. People with heart disease, diabetes or chronic lung disease have a harder time fighting off the virus and recovering from infections.

Anyone can get COVID-19, and most infections are mild. The older you are, the higher your risk of severe illness.

You also a have higher chance of serious illness if you have one of these health conditions:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • A weakened immune system because of an organ transplant
  • Obesity
  • Serious heart conditions such as heart failure or coronary artery disease
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

Conditions that could lead to severe COVID-19 illness include:

  • Moderate to severe asthma
  • Diseases that affect your blood vessels and blood flow to your brain
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • High blood pressure
  • A weakened immune system because of a blood or bone marrow transplant, HIV, or medications like corticosteroids
  • Dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Damaged or scarred lung tissue (pulmonary fibrosis)
  • Smoking
  • Thalassemia
  • Type 1 diabetes

Some children and teens who are in the hospital with COVID-19 have an inflammatory condition that doctors are calling multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Doctors think it may be linked to the virus. It causes symptoms similar to those of toxic shock and of Kawasaki disease, a condition that causes inflammation in kids’ blood vessels.

COVID-19 Complications

Some people experience a cough even after recovering from COVID-19. Others have scarring in their lungs. Doctors are still studying whether these effects are permanent or might heal over time.

Can you get coronavirus twice ?

There have been a few cases of reinfection reported and presently, it is considered a rare occurrence. With other coronaviruses that only cause colds, you have a period where you are immune, but that goes away over time. That also appears to be the case with this coronavirus. Immunity is estimated to last at least three to four months.

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