What is coronavirus?
It comes from a group of viruses that cause a range of diseases from the common cold to severe respiratory illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV). However, the novel coronavirus (nCOV) is a new strain of the virus that is recently identified in humans1. The disease caused by this virus is named COVID-19.
Symptoms of COVID-19?
The symptoms of the disease might take up to 14 days to appear after getting in contact with the virus2. Some primary symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath
If you have any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention. It is also possible that some people who are affected might be asymptomatic.
How does it spread?
The virus is easily transmitted from person to person3 similar to the flu. The transmission of the virus is most likely to be through cough droplets4. Other ways in which this virus can possibly spread is by touching surfaces already touched by infected people, any physical contact such as shaking hands or sharing food or drinks with a person who has the virus5.
Since the development of a cure against the novel coronavirus is still ongoing, the best way to prevent the COVID-19 disease is by avoiding any kind of exposure to the virus. Here are a few ways recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Health Service (NHS) to avoid contracting the virus:
- Ensure to constantly wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds
- Restrict yourself from touching eyes, nose, mouth and your face overall
- Frequently disinfect all surfaces at your work or home
- Avoid any contact with people who are sick
However, if you feel sick or symptomatic, ensure that you:
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with a tissue or your bent elbow
- Stay at home
- Inform your local medical officer/authority
As we face a global health emergency with the spread of coronavirus, it is important to be aware of the situation and take necessary precautions at an individual level. Stay tuned to all health related information provided by credible sources and don’t fall for any fake news.
- Coronavirus [Internet]. Who.int. 2020 [cited 6 March 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Symptoms [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020 [cited 11 March 2020]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020 [cited 6 March 2020]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#spreads
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Internet]. nhs.uk. 2020 [cited 6 March 2020]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- Todd Ellerin M. As coronavirus spreads, many questions and some answers – Harvard Health Blog [Internet]. Harvard Health Blog. 2020 [cited 6 March 2020]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/as-coronavirus-spreads-many-questions-and-some-answers-2020022719004#q2