COVID-19 or novel Coronavirus is a new mutated strain of coronavirus. Initially, animals were the host to coronavirus, but the new strain “the novel coronavirus” has been thought to have jumped host from animals to humans. The first recorded case of novel coronavirus was in Wuhan, China.
The COVID-19 virus is an advanced strain of virus belonging to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or some types of the common cold.
What are the symptoms associated with COVID-19?
The novel coronavirus usually causes respiratory distress, causing the following symptoms:
- cough, and
- shortness of breath.
In severe cases, an infection can lead to pneumonia or other breathing difficulties. Rarely, the disease can be lethal. The symptoms of novel corona infection are very similar to flu (influenza) in mild cases. Testing is available to confirm if COVID-19 has infected someone.
How to prevent COVID-19 from spreading?
By following some precautions, we can prevent coronavirus from spreading more widely. These precautions include:
- Frequently washing hands,
- Maintaining appropriate respiratory hygiene – covering your mouth while coughing or sneezing with a tissue. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
How to avoid the risk of infection?
We can reduce the risk of infection by following some precautions, which includes:
- Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or cleansing hand with alcohol-based hand rub. The alcohol concentration in the hand rub must be at least 60%. After washing dry the hands thoroughly with a clean cloth or single-use tissue.
- Try not to touch your face or eyes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve while coughing or sneezing. Carefully dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Avoid getting in contact with someone who has flu-like symptoms.
- Self-isolate if you have symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.
- Call NHS 111 if you are not getting better after 7 days or if symptoms get more severe.
What are the things you should avoid during corona outbreak?
The corona pandemic has caused widespread panic and fear of getting infected. Here are a few things you should avoid during corona outbreak:
- Do not panic. Panicking does not solve problems but stress you out and lowers your immune system.
- Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth, doing so reduces the chance of contracting an infection.
- Do not travel unnecessarily. If in case you have to travel, get yourself screened and take necessary precautions. Take special care to clean your seat, armrest, touchscreen, etc. with a disinfecting wipe once you enter inside an aircraft or other public transport. Also make sure to disinfect and clean key surfaces, doorknobs, remote controls, at the hotel or other accommodation where you and your loved ones are staying.
- Avoid going into crowded areas and practice social distancing of at least 2 metres.
- Please do not believe everything posted on the internet/ social media unless it comes from a reliable source.
- Do not self-medicate yourself. There are few medicines like ibuprofen, aspirin that needs to be avoided during viral infection as it may cause bleeding.
What pregnant women and breastfeeding women should know about coronavirus infection?
Pregnant women must take special care and maintain proper hygiene to avoid infection. Still, we do not have enough evidence to determine if the virus is transmitted from the mother to her baby during pregnancy, or what potential impact the infection may have on the baby.
All mothers who breastfed their children in affected areas and high-risk areas must take necessary precautions and follow instructions as per their health care provider. Health care providers must encourage breastfeeding while adhering to essential precautions as advised. Mothers who are exhibiting symptoms must take special care while they are around the child by wearing a mask, sanitising contaminated surfaces and washing hands frequently.
If a mother is too ill, she should express breast milk and give it to the child via a clean cup or spoon instead of breastfeeding the child. Take the necessary precautions while removing breast milk to avoid contamination.
What are the common myths associated with COVID-19?
The pandemic of the coronavirus has alarmed people across the world. But there is a lot of wrong information circulating about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). So, it is essential to know what is right and what is not.
Myth: Vaccine to cure COVID-19 is available.
Fact: Currently, there is no vaccine to cure COVID19. However, scientists are working to developing one.
Myth: Using a face mask can protect you from COVID-19.
Fact: Certain types of professional, tight-fitting masks, such as the N95, help to protect health care workers as they come in close contact with infected patients. However, it is not recommended to wear a lightweight mask for people with no respiratory ailments. The lightweight masks don’t fit tightly and may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes. Also, persons who are near people infected with the virus should avoid touching their mask with hands as the mask might become infected.
People having respiratory ailments should wear masks to reduce the chance of infecting others.
One must always avoid piling up the masks so that the sick and healthcare professionals may have enough stock as they need it most.
Myth: You can prevent getting infected by COVID-19 by swallowing or gargling with bleach, or taking acetic acid or steroids, or using a few essential oils, saltwater, ethanol or other substances.
Fact: These practices do not prevent you from getting infected. However, you can avoid getting infected by washing hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid any close contact with people having flu-like symptoms.
Myth: Buying products shipped from China will make a person sick.
Fact: The illness mostly spreads by droplets. The novel coronavirus does not stay alive for very long on surfaces. Thus, these viruses cannot survive for long on the parcels.