There’s a lot of information about coronavirus that we don’t know yet. But there’s also a lot that’s out there that you probably haven’t heard about. This is because there are many places you could go to search and read about coronavirus. And that has finally brought you to the right place – here.
In this article, I will be discussing in great detail the pandemic that is coronavirus. What it is? Where did it come from? What are its symptoms? How to prevent it? How does one diagnose it? And what happens after diagnosis?
I’m sure you have your questions about this disease too. Which I will be addressing after I give you this brief overview of COVID-19. What you’re about to read next is critical information so you know what to look out for.
Table of Contents
Coronavirus – Introduction
Coronavirus is a single-strand virus emerging from the SARS-CoV-2 family. It’s a thread of this family of diseases, also known as coronaviridae. This disease is commonly found in animals such as mammals, birds, and reptiles.
So how did humans catch it? Hold on to your seats, this is going to shock the life out of you.
Coronavirus spread from December 2019 in a common food market in Wuhan, China. The virus started infecting humans because of the transfer from animal to human. However, the origin of the virus in humans is still a mystery.
There have been many claims about how it spread to humans. This outbreak has been traced back to bats, snakes, and camels. And yet it’s unclear the exact origin of this new strain of coronavirus that is COVID-19.
What’s more important to know is how this virus affects humans, that is you. It has led to respiratory infections and has spread across the globe. So it’s a critical and life-threatening pandemic.
However, we will get into the symptoms of the COVID-19 later. Right now, let’s understand a bit more about this virus.
The Middle East respiratory syndrome arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2012. And Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was reported in 2003. Both were strains of the novel coronavirus, which COVID-19 is also a part of.
Both these respiratory infections affect around 2,500 and 8,000 people respectively. And killed 850 and 800 people. So the prescribed and reported fatality rate of both infections was 35% and 10% based on the data.
So what coronavirus is is a brand new strain, goes by the name of SARS-CoV-2. No human has ever been treated with this disease before. So the incubation period and treatment are still unknown to us.
Coronavirus – What You Need To Know
This begs the following questions.
- How contagious is the disease?
- What are the symptoms?
- How can you protect yourself from it?
I will answer all your questions as intricately and accurately as I can. Let’s start from the beginning.
How Did It Spread?
Coronavirus spread from this food market in Wuhan, China in 2019. However, there have already been cases of people getting affected. And dying from this disease. As discussed above, back in 2003 in China and 2012 in the Middle East.
The symptoms include the common cold, fever, and sore throat. Severe cases suffered from extreme symptoms such as pneumonia and bronchitis. So it’s well-established that novel coronavirus causes both upper and lower respiratory issues.
COVID-19, which is a strain of coronavirus, has affected the human population is much the same way. It’s contagious in that it spreads from human to human.
It can spread through the air. If a person around you sneezes, coughs, or speaks, the disease may spread from them to you. Simply said, you share in the same air as the infected person so you breathe in their particles.
It also spreads through contact. If the infected person touches a surface such as a table or a doorknob. And you touch the same surface after, that’s how the disease is spread. If you’ve seen the movie Contagion, you know humans touch their faces a lot. Some studies say it’s about 23 times in an hour, like this one.
When you touch your eyes, nose, mouth, you’re carrying the virus without even noticing it. That’s why touching surfaces is a bad idea. It puts others around you at risk of getting infected, that is if you are too.
This begs the next question.
How Long Does Covid-19 Last On Surfaces?
It should come as a surprise to you that coronavirus survives on surfaces too. That’s one of the major reasons why it’s spread across the globe and millions of people have been affected by it.
COVID-19 multiplies once it enters the body. But if you catch even a single droplet of an infected person’s cough, that’s how the spread starts. A person’s cough contains about 3,000 tiny, tiny droplets. These droplets linger in the air too. You only have to use public transport to understand the crux of the issue.
Practically every surface like doorknobs, handles, chairs, etc. have finger prints on them. Having said that, you can prevent it by avoiding touching your face after touching surfaces. Disinfecting surfaces is key to preventing the spread of this disease. It’s not yet proven how this came to be but you need to take precaution regardless.
Though the research on this is still unclear, COVID-19 can last for days on surfaces. On metal, glass, and plastic, the strain can last for as long as 9 days. This is if the surface hasn’t been disinfecting in those many days.
In lower temperatures, coronavirus can linger in the air and on surfaces for up to 28 days.
The point of this section is to warn you to never touch your face while you’re outside. To always keep your home disinfected and clean for you and your family. And to wear a mask outside and maintain social distance.
Coronavirus – Symptoms
One important thing to know about this disease is that it’s changing every day. So there’s always new information to be had about its symptoms and cure. But what health professionals do know is that COVID-19 is asymptomatic too. This depends from person to person.
This is the math. A person with coronavirus can carry the virus from 2 to 14 days before showing symptoms. The most common symptoms of coronavirus are as follows:
- Difficulty in breathing/shortness of breath
There are also some symptoms of coronavirus that are not as common. But there have been patients diagnosed based on the following symptoms related to COVID-19.
- Body aches with chills and shivering
- Sore throat
- Loss of smell/taste
These symptoms are mild. But if the infection intensifies can cause more severe symptoms. And this complicates the issue a bit. Because for someone who has some pre-existing conditions. They could get severely affected by this strain. This includes:
- Heart or lung problems.
- High blood pressure
- Autoimmune diseases
This is why older people are getting more severely affected with coronavirus. WHO tells us that 1 in 5 people can get severely affected by coronavirus. It could lead to shortness of breath, chest pains, dizziness, nausea, and high fever.
You can also no show signs of illness and have coronavirus. Here’s how.
Coronavirus is mainly a respiratory disease. A slight cough that you may not even notice could speak volumes. This generally happens during the early stages of the disease. Some shortness of breath or a mild cough is often overlooked.
This also means that if an asymptomatic person has coronavirus, you could still get it.
Coronavirus – Prevention
The term “prevention is better than cure” rings truer now than it ever did. Because there are things you can do to protect yourself. This goes above and beyond just washing your hands regularly and not touching your face.
According to the CDC, this is everything you can do to protect yourself.
Washing your hand with soap is not the only important thing. There’s a certain way to do it. For example, you need to thoroughly wash your hands for 20 seconds. If you don’t have a proper hand wash at home, you can also use a sanitizer. Ensure that the sanitizer has 60% alcohol in it.
Do not touch your mouth, eyes, nose at any cost. If you have to sneeze or wipe any part of your face, use a tissue paper that you can throw immediately.
Disinfect your house using a disinfectant spray and cloth. Wipe down all surfaces. Including tables, doorknobs, switches, mirrors, etc. Including your phone screen which, too, is a surface that can contain the virus.
If you or anybody in your home is sick, stay at home. Isolate yourself from your family members in another if it’s available to you. Avoid physical contact, drinking in the same glass or plate, or the same towel.
In grocery stores and pharmacies, practice social distancing. You’re also to wear a mask at all times outdoors. Even if you’re going to a place that’s a 3-minute walk from your home. Wearing a mask is important. Many grocery stores do not allow you to enter unless you have a mask on.
The best face mask to wear is a cloth mask. The more expensive surgical masks and N95 respirators are more apt. For doctors and medical first responders. Civilians can wear cloth masks as it protects from the transmission.
Lastly, maintain a social distance of around 2 to 6 feet away from people. If you’re waiting outside a pharmacy. Then make sure you’re standing in a queue some distance away from the person in front of and behind you. This is very important.
Coronavirus – Self-Isolation
You need to self-isolate if you experience a mild cough or some fever. You can do it by yourself if you feel you are sick. But, at such times, it’s best to ask your doctor if it’s the best way for you.
Here’s how to self-isolate the correct way to protect yourself and your family.
Make sure you have 24/7 access to toilet facilities. And that you are self-isolating in a clean room.
If you’re not self-isolating alone, keep a 1 – 4 meters distance between two beds. You must also maintain a 1 to 4 meters distance between two people, including yourself.
Keep a thermometer handy. Check your vitals every morning, evening, and night. You can monitor and report your symptoms to a doctor by phone or email.
If the incubation period is 14 days, the self-isolation period is 14 days too. So you must follow through completely.
In case you experience shortness of breath and chest pains, go to a doctor immediately.
Do not panic or read negative and false information online. The stress and anxiety can also intensify what you’re feeling. So practical positivity at home by yoga, meditation, and communication with loved ones.
Coronavirus – Diagnosis
Diagnosing coronavirus is simple. Even if you’re not symptomatic, you can apply for a test. The health professional will take a sample from your nostril. Swabbing inside your nostrils usually does the trick.
This condition is similar to other health diseases as it is a viral infection. Somebody taking your blood or saliva sample is also at risk of getting it. So make sure you go to a proper health department or private company test facilities. To get your diagnosis in order.
The best way to find out the best health testing center for you is to contact your state’s health department. You can do this either by phone, email or check their website. There will be information regarding the time, location, and means. For getting a COVID-19 test complete.
If someone in your family is really sick, the FDA has also approved a home testing kit. With a cotton swab, you can swab your nostrils. And send it to any home testing-complaint laboratory for diagnosis. This is safer but only if the mailing facilities in your area are working.
You can apply for a home testing kit only if you or anybody in your house shows symptoms of COVID-19. And that will only be confirmed by a health care professional and his or her prescription.
Based on what your doctor says, you can get tested for coronavirus at home. And keep away from other people to prevent spreading the infection elsewhere. This is really helpful if you are self-isolating to prevent intensifying the infection. It’s also a matter of life and death for somebody exhibiting the symptoms and is older.
Coronavirus – Possible Complications
COVID-19 can have many possible complications. But the important and serious one to know about is pneumonia. It’s NCIP which means the pneumonia is caused by a novel coronavirus.
This is based on a study conducted on 138 people affected with coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Where in 26% of the affected people showed severe signs of pneumonia. They were put into the ICU which is the Intensive Care Unit for the treatment.
Having said that, 4.3% of those affected passed away. Due to novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia. This, along with other important statistics, showed that older people with pre-existing health conditions were more likely to go into ICU for this complication.
To sum up, there are other less severe but COVID-19-linked complications to know about.
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Cardiovascular shock
- Severe muscle pain
- Heart complications/heart attack
Coronavirus – Common Myths To Know About
It’s not uncommon to fall trap to false information regarding COVID-19. So the best way to move forward is to stay away from myths that confuse some of you. It may also cause panic or lead to life-threatening decisions for others as well.
So let’s tackle each myth and explain what’s actually true about coronavirus.
#1 – Spicy Foods Like Pepper Prevents Coronavirus
There is no proof of this being true. No kind of food – whether spicy or sweet – can cure coronavirus. Hot peppers, for example, are good for taste. But they do not possess any compounds that help fight this respiratory infection.
You can eat many foods that contribute to overall health and boost immunity. A good and healthy diet, moderate exercise, staying hydrated, and good sleep.
Fact – Hot pepper is not a cure or prevention for coronavirus.
#2 – Houseflies Transmit Coronavirus
The only way you can catch this viral infection is when a person around you has it. In coughing, sneezing, or touching a contaminated surface. You must stay at least a meter away from people. And practical hygiene in your home by washing your hands regularly and for 20 seconds every time.
Fact – Houseflies do not transmit COVID-19.
#3 – Bleach On The Body Is A Good Prevention
Rubbing bleach all over your body will cause skin irritation and rashes. It’s not the right way to protect yourself against the infection. Even if you’re standing in a queue or at the pharmacy, bleach or other disinfectant is not going to protect you.
If you rub or spray bleach all over your body, it will cause eye or nose irritation. It’s poisonous and so must only be used to clean floors. Children should never come close to chlorine bleaches. Or any such dangerous and strong disinfectant.
Fact – Bleach does not protect the body against the infection. It’s dangerous to spray on the body or ingest it.
#4 – Drinking Chemicals Will Prevent And Cure Covid-19
If you’re up to date on the news, you know about many such cases. Where people have unknowingly drunk methanol or ethanol. This is done with the misconception that it will prevent coronavirus from entering their bodies. What it has led to, however, is serious organ damage. And in more severe cases even death.
Drinking such chemicals is dangerous. Methanol and ethanol are used in disinfectants and hand sanitizers. They kill germs and bacteria on surfaces. They’re not supposed to be consumed.
Fact – Drinking methanol or ethanol will cause internal damage. It does not prevent or cure coronavirus.
#5 – 5G Mobile Waves Spread (Or Have Spread) Coronavirus In The Air???
Frankly, this is the most absurd piece of misinformation regarding the spread of COVID-19. There are some conspiracy theories regarding the spread of coronavirus in the world. And one of the theories is that 5G mobile networks cause it.
This is completely false. Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes or contaminates a surface. What you must be wary of is not touching your face, eyes, nose, etc. when outside. Keep your hands clean at all times. And wear a mask whenever you do step outdoors.
Fact – 5G mobile network does not spread coronavirus.
#6 – Sunlight Can Kill The Coronavirus Germs In The Body
To be more specific, it’s assumed that temperatures higher than 25C can kill the germs of this viral infection. Exposing yourself to such intense heat may cause a headache, dehydration, and skin burns. Always wear sunscreen if you’re stepping out in the sun and keep yourself hydrated.
Fact – Extreme hot temperatures or sunlight does not prevent COVID-19.
#7 – Once You Have Coronavirus, You Have It For Life
There is a drug treatment to help you cure completely of coronavirus. You can destroy the virus in your body as soon as you’re hospitalized for it. So there’s no way the virus is still in your body even after you’ve been treated for it.
Fact – You can completely recover from COVID-19.
#8 – Drinking Alcohol Reduces Your Chances Of Catching Coronavirus
Consumption of alcohol has nothing whatsoever to do with coronavirus. Excessive drinking can cause health issues. This was true before the spread of COVID-19 and it’s still true now.
Fact – Drinking alcohol will not protect you from coronavirus.
#9 – Mosquito Bites Transmit Coronavirus
Just as how houseflies do not transmit this virus, mosquito bites don’t either. It spreads when a person coughs and tiny droplets are exchanged between two people. This can happen through contaminated surfaces as well.
Fact – Mosquito bites do not spread coronavirus.
#10 – UV Lamps Disinfect Hands And Other Parts Of Your Body
The best possible way to keep your hands clean and virus-free is washing. You must rub a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol to get rid of germs and viruses. Exposing yourself to UV radiation will lead to skin irritation, rashes, and other complications.
Fact – UV radiation is not at all effective at protecting against COVID-19.
#11 – Only Old People Are Getting Affected With Coronavirus
This is false. People of all ages are susceptible to COVID-19. Older people just have more underlying health issues. Like diabetes or heart or lung problems. This is why they’re more vulnerable to catching this virus. And they’re the first ones who require immediate medical attention.
Maybe this data will clear the dust away. Out of 2,500 affected patients in America, 29% of them were between the ages of 20 to 44 years.
Fact – No matter your age, you have to protect yourself against COVID-19. And practice healthy and safe measures to ensure your health and well-being.
#12 – Coronavirus Is A Biological Weapon
I’ve saved the most serious and controversial one for the last. It is said and falsely- believed that coronavirus is a biological weapon created by humans. To control the population. Or psychologically enable an “us versus them” mentality between countries.
This is not true. COVID-19 is a strain of the novel coronavirus and it is not new. This virus lives inside bats and has been for over 7,000 years. Because of the closeness between a bat and a human, the transmission is never ruled out. Such a catastrophe is something humanity must accept and work to prevent. Due to overpopulation and consumerism.
Fact – COVID-19 was not created by humans.
Coronavirus – Possible Treatments
If somebody tells you that there is nothing doctors can do about this virus, don’t listen to them.
There are drugs and potential treatments for coronavirus. The data is being altered and improved every day. And those who have COVID-19 are being treated. With the best possible drugs and anti-viral medications available.
According to studies, 3 medications have been approved and fast-tracked for emergency use for COVID-19. They are antimalarial chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine. And an antiviral drug, Remdesivir.
While it’s true that there is no new vaccine for the virus yet. But there is a line of medication that is being used in treating. And even curing coronavirus-infected patients. The testing stages for each drug are as follows:
- Stopping the virus from entering human cells.
- Stopping the virus from replicating once inside the human cells.
- And stopping or reducing the impact of the virus on the body.
The common treatment for coronavirus in hospitals is for shortness of breath, fever, and dehydration. Antibiotics are proved ineffective because COVID-19 is not bacterial. It is a virus that replicates in human cells and so it’s a virus. So what you need is an antiviral medication. Until a proper and effective vaccination is produced for it.
Coronavirus – Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Is Wearing A Mask Important?
It’s important to wear a mask when you step outside. This, along with social distancing, is recommended by WHO and CDC. The best thing to wear outside is a cloth mask that completely covers your nostrils and mouth.
The reason why wearing masks is so important is that it prevents droplets from entering. This curbs the spread of COVID-19. Though it does not protect you from catching the virus completely.
Here’s the science behind wearing a mask.
COVID-19 is a virus present in the saliva of humans. Even if you are asymptomatic, you can spread the virus to another human being.
When a person coughs, on an average, they release 3,000 droplets in the air. This is true for when you sneeze, exhale air, and talk. So wearing a mask can slow down the exchange of these respiratory droplets between people. Coupled with social distancing, this is way more effective.
If you cannot get access to a mask, you can wear a bandana around your nose and mouth. Plain cotton fabrics such as T-shirts can also be sewn to make a face mask.
Here’s how you can keep the mask clean:
- Do not touch the mask with your hands when you’re outside.
- As soon as you’re indoors, remove the mask, but do not touch your face.
- Make sure you wash your hands when you remove it.
- Hand washing the mask, if it’s a high-quality fabric, is a good choice.
Children, asthma patients, and physically disabled people should not wear a mask. Similarly, they should not step out of the house either. Especially children under the age of 2 and people with asthma.
2. Who Is More Likely To Catch COVID-19?
If you think you have symptoms or feel a little under the weather. Then contact your doctor immediately. Let him or her know about the following information.
- What are your symptoms?
- For how long have you been experiencing them?
- Did you travel abroad?
- Have you come into contact with someone who did travel?
- Did you attend an event or a function with a large group of people?
Based on the above-mentioned information, your doctor will tell you to get tested. That is if your symptom is persistent. And if you have some underlying health conditions, getting tested is necessary.
When you’re in public, you don’t know who has traveled and who hasn’t. And you come into contact with people all the time, without even realizing it. In cafes, public transport, movie theatres, or at the workplace.
You’re more likely to catch this virus if any of the above-mentioned factors apply to you. So stay safe and seek medical care if you’re feeling unwell.
Before you go, there are ways to prevent coronavirus. If you start showing symptoms, seek medical care immediately. Doctors are now equipped at offering the best possible solutions for you.
Everything we know about this virus is changing every day. So it’s necessary to stay updated and practice social distancing. Stay indoors and stay away from people if you think you feel sick or under the weather.
It’s not coronavirus if you have a common cold or a slight fever. But if the symptoms persist, your doctor will advise you on what to do next.