The novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov), which is also known as the Wuhan virus, has proven to be deadly and it has claimed plenty of lives in China apart from infecting lots of others. Apart from China, the USA, UK, Thailand have also reported cases positive for the novel Coronavirus. Recently, India got its first confirmed positive case in Kerala where the patient is a student from Wuhan University, China.
Scientists right now are making their best efforts to find out all they can about the virus so that they can understand it fully. They have already confirmed that this disease can indeed travel from one human being to another.
WHO (World Health Organization) has declared Coronavirus Global Health Emergency as the death toll hits 361!
Let us check out on this digital health platform the signs and symptoms and the preventive measures to fight this deadly virus.
What are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a huge family of viruses that are rather common in various species of animals such as camels, rats, cattle, and bats.
However, it is very rare for such viruses to infect humans as well. In such cases, the disease can spread from one human being to another. The most prominent examples of diseases caused by such viruses would be MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). The novel Coronavirus is a new strain, which was previously not identified in humans. This particular coronavirus is a betacoronavirus as well much like the ones that caused SARS and MERS. This means that all of them had their origin in bats. It causes illness ranging from the common cold to pneumonia. In the beginning, it was assumed that the virus was spreading from animals to humans. However, soon enough it was clear that it was spreading within humans as well since most of the affected people, later on, had zero connection to the Wuhan animal and seafood market.
Novel Coronavirus Symptoms
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stated that there are a few symptoms of the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov). The common symptoms include:
- shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
In the case of severe acute infection, it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
How it is spreading?
These viruses are zoonotic, which implies that the diseases they cause can be transmitted from animals to humans. In other words, it can be said that these diseases normally exist in animals and can infect humans. The most common way of spreading this virus are:
- Through coughing and sneezing
- Coming in close personal contact with an infected person such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or its surface infected with the virus and then touching eyes, mouth, and nose without washing the hands
What is close contact?
As per the CDC, the phrase – close contact – means being within the range of 6 feet with an infected individual. It could also mean being in the same care area or room of a person who is suffering from coronavirus.
More on close contact
The agency has said that the words close contact includes caring for, visiting, living with, or sharing a room or waiting area of a healthcare facility with an infected person as well. It has also made it clear that if you had been to Wuhan of late and are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms you should seek medical care without any delay. You should call your doctor right away and describe all the situations regarding your symptoms and travel. You should also avoid being in contact with other people.
They also suggested all travelers monitor their health closely for 2 weeks post returning to their homeland from any country potential to cause infection.
Preventive measures for Novel Coronavirus
CDC and various healthcare experts have said that there are ways in which you would be able to protect yourself from the virus when you are on the move. The easiest preventive measures include:
- Avoid any form of contact with live animals, poultry and birds
- Do not consume any raw or undercooked food
- Avoid crowded places like railway stations, bus tops, fish-meat markets and the surroundings of any infected individuals.
- Wash your hands consistently with water and soap. You should also scrub it for a minimum of 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizers that are alcohol-based as and when you can.
- Wear a mask if you have a cough or runny nose.
- Cover your mouth with tissue paper while coughing and sneezing and immediately discard it.
- Wear proper personal protective equipment like masks (N95), gloves, goggles, apron, cap, and shoe cover when handling infected patients.
Who are the most vulnerable?
Coronaviruses such as these are known to be especially dangerous for ones whose immune systems are not that strong. This includes the likes of older adults and young children. Until now, no vaccine has been invented to protect people from the said virus.
It is also being assumed that your pets are also at risk in these cases. They too could be affected the same way as you.
As such, this particular virus does not have any treatment as of yet. This means that the treatment, being done right now, focuses on alleviating the symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, and dry cough. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention is presently trying to test the efficiency of current treatments used for pneumonia. It is trying to find out if they can be used to treat pneumonia that has happened because of coronavirus.
The authorities are studying anti-viral at the moment. This includes protease inhibitors such as the following:
- interferon beta
They had also identified a few monoclonal antibodies earlier on. They are studying to find out how effective they can be in the present circumstances.
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