Are you wondering about the new coronavirus from China? Confirmed reports state more than 105 deaths in China with over 4500 people infected around the world (majority in China). While the testing and isolation continue in the country, the virus has also been tested positive in 13 other countries such as the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Australia, etc. So, what exactly is it? How does it look like? What are the signs and symptoms? Does it spread? How does it spread? Can it be prevented? If yes, how can we prevent it? In this concise article, you will find all about coronavirus.
What is coronavirus disease in humans?
Coronavirus is a type of virus that affects mammals (primarily animals). So far, it is known that it affects animals such as mice, rats, dogs, cats, turkeys, horses, pigs, and cattle. It belongs to the zoonotic category meaning they can get transmitted from animals to human beings. The disease can cause mild to moderate sickness related to the cold and respiratory tract and in worst cases, kidney failure or even death. In a broad sense, the easiest victims of coronavirus are children, old people and patients (especially those with poor immunity) primarily owing to their active lifestyle or touching things around them; and poor immunity.
Coronavirus signs and symptoms?
Coronavirus symptoms in humans usually begin to start showing within 2-4 days of infection onset and then eventually worsen with passing days. Few of the most common symptoms are:
h) Sore throat
i) Shortness of breath
In severe cases, the patient can have extreme complications that can also lead to death, such as: Severe pneumonia and renal (kidney) failure.
One lesser-known fact about coronavirus is that it can be recurring. Once having affected you with a mild cold, it can re-occur few months (typically 4 months) later. This happens because the antibodies for coronavirus are inefficient in the long run. Once they die out, the infection can be back. Also, antibodies function differently for different strains of coronavirus. There is no complete, holistic set of antibodies for this virus, to date.
How does coronavirus spread?
Coronavirus transmission among humans commonly happens through contact and air. Find the full list below:
a) It can spread through the air – through coughing or sneezing.
b) Close contact with an infected person – shaking hands, hugging, kissing, etc.
c) Touching objects with the coronavirus on them and then touching yourself without washing your hands.
d) Though rare, fecal contamination is also a way of transmission of coronavirus.
Coronavirus prevention tips
On an average, subconsciously or unconsciously, an average person touches his/her own face about 15 times per hour. Therefore, the very first step to the prevention of any disease, not just a coronavirus attack, is to maintain hygienic hands. Hand hygiene comprises of washing your hands frequently throughout the day especially:
–> Before and after eating
–> After touching your nose and mouth
–> After touching any public property especially in crowded areas
–> After coming in physical contact with other people – especially if they are infected
a) But the key is to make sure that you wash your hands properly and not hurry with it.
b) Always carry a sanitizer with you in order to stay hygienic even during the absence of soap and clean water.
c) Avoid touching your face especially your nose and mouth area without having washed your hands.
d) Frequently wash your face to avoid getting infected with any potential virus on your skin.
e) Carry wet wipes/tissues with you all the time and use them when you sneeze, cough, etc.
f) Avoid using public toilets, public phone booths, railway stations, buses, etc. To avoid getting in touch with over-used objects.
g) If you cannot avoid the same, be careful with what you touch and touch as minimally as possible. And once done, immediately wash your hands really well.
h) Before washing hands, do not touch your face or eat anything
i) Avoid hugs, handshakes, kisses or other close physical contacts with people, to whatever extent possible.
j) Do not eat from others’ boxes/bowls/packets. And if others dip their hands in your food, refrain from eating the same.
k) Do not touch any farm or pet animals with unprotected hands. In case you do, wash your hands immediately.
l) Regularly clean the frequently used handles and objects around you – that you get in contact with.
Is there a treatment for coronavirus?
At present, there is no concrete coronavirus treatment available; however, supportive medical care is provided to help relieve the acuteness of the symptoms and control complications. There is no vaccine for the prevention of this condition, as well.
Your medical practitioner may suggest laboratory tests on respiratory specimens and serum (part of your blood) to detect human coronaviruses. Laboratory form of coronavirus test is more likely to be used if you have severe disease or are suspected of having MERS. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should undoubtedly inform him/her about any recent travel or contact with animals.
What are the types of coronavirus?
Coronavirus is mainly and most commonly of 6 broad types. This classification is based on the intensity of the virus attack and how it spreads. The virus can cause both SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) which are the 2 most severe end results of the virus. Among the other 4 lesser intense viruses are listed below:
a) 229E (alpha coronavirus)
b) NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
c) OC43 (beta coronavirus)
d) HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
e) SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
f) MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)
As of now, exhaustive information related to the coronavirus disease and virus is unavailable. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) and research experts are trying to capture in-depth details of the same.