Countries around the globe are stepping up efforts to tackle a coronavirus (CoV) that originated in China. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also declared a global health emergency over a coronavirus following an outbreak in Wuhan city of China.
The new coronavirus has sickened more than 40,000 people worldwide and killed nearly 900 people located in China. Health authorities have confirmed that the virus is still in question but can cause severe illness in patients.
SMILES, in this article, helps you know everything about this mysterious virus.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that potentially cause respiratory illness ranging from the common flu or cold to more severe health conditions such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, they are transmitted between animals and humans. Various investigations found that SARS was transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS travel to humans from dromedary camels.
There are several known coronaviruses circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
The name coronavirus is derived from the Latin word corona which means crown or halo. A novel coronavirus (nCoV), identified by Chinese authorities is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Different types of human coronaviruses include 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1 vary in the severity of the illness they cause and how far the virus spread.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Human coronavirus causes lower-respiratory illness. The most common signs and symptoms of coronavirus include:
- ● A runny nose
- ● Headache
- ● Fever
- ● Cough
- ● Sore throat
- ● Shortness of breath & Breathing difficulties
In more severe cases, the infection results in pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. This is common in patients with cardiopulmonary disease and weakened immune systems.
However, the incubation period of coronavirus remains unknown, but the Centers for Disease Control, CDC says that it could be between 10 to 14 days of exposure.
Sometimes infected patients can be asymptomatic which means they do not have any of the symptoms mentioned above, despite having the virus inside their systems.
How is Coronavirus Diagnosed and treated?
Diagnosis of new coronavirus is difficult with only a physical exam because mild cases of coronavirus may appear similar to common flu or cold. Therefore, doctors may suggest laboratory tests on respiratory specimens and serum isolated from your blood, to detect human coronavirus.
These tests are more likely to be used if you have severe respiratory illness or suspected of having Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) caused by a coronavirus. There are no available treatments for any human coronaviruses, according to the CDC.
Patients infected with 2019-nCoV should be treated with supportive measures such as taking medications to relieve symptoms.
How is Coronavirus prevented?
Currently, there is no specific medicine to prevent coronavirus. One of the best ways to prevent Coronavirus is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
However, the CDC recommends some preventive actions listed below that help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap & warm water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after coughing or sneezing.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, & mouth with uncleaned or unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are infected with the virus
- ● Get plenty of rest when you are sick
- ● Drink more fluids
- ● Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw it in trash
- ● Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
Remember, anyone can catch this virus. But the effect it will have on you, and how seriously you might become ill is dependent on several other factors.
Adults and older people with conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart disease appear to be more vulnerable to become severely ill with the new coronavirus.
For more updates on coronavirus, keep following SMILES!