All That You Should Know About COVID-19 Or Coronavirus

All That You Should Know About COVID-19 Or Coronavirus

Coronavirus or COVID-19 started with an epidemic and has now taken the form of a pandemic, as declared by WHO. COVID 19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that may cause respiratory illness in humans. The exact source of infection of 2019 novel Coronavirus has not been identified 
Millions of people across India have been put under lockdown for 21 days on 24th March, which has been extended till 3rd of May 2020. This has restricted movement of the entire 1.3 billion population of India as a preventive measure against the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in India. 

How is it spread 

The disease is spread through droplets sprayed by affected individuals, contact with patient respiratory secretions, contaminated surfaces and equipment Transmission is from human-to-human
Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks
These droplets can land in mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs
People who are asymptomatic may also spread COVID 19

Symptoms of coronavirus

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) cases

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure
 
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Some patients also have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea
Symptoms can range in severity from very mild to severe
80% patients have mild symptoms Severity of symptoms
Varies form mild to severe. Some people do not have any symptoms at all. 

Preventive measures 

  1. Practice social distancing 
  2. Avoid gatherings such as melas, haats, gathering in religious places, social functions, etc.
  3. Maintain a safe distance of at least one meter between you and other people when in public places, especially if they are having symptoms such as cough, fever etc. to avoid direct droplet contact. 
  4. Stay at home as much as possible
  5. Avoid physical contact like handshakes, hand holdings or hugs
  6. Avoid touching surfaces such as tabletops, chairs, door handles, lift buttons etc.
  7. Practice good hygiene
  8. Wash your hands frequently using alcohol-based hand rubs as well as soap and water
  9. After coming home from outside or meeting other people especially if they are ill
  10. After having touched your face, eating or feeding children
  11. Before and after using toilet, cleaning etc. 
  12. Use sanitizers in case soap and water is not available 
  13. Self-care
  14. Take all preventive measures that you are talking about community such as keeping safe distance, washing hands frequently including before and after home visits. Carry your own soap
  15. If you are visiting or accompanying a suspected case to any health facility, make sure to cover both your mouth and nose with folded cloth or mask
  16. If you are conducting community meetings or supporting outreach sessions the groups should not be larger than 10-12 people
  17. Maintaining safe distances for those living in crowded areas or the homeless is going to be difficult. Even then you should inform them about preventive measures and support them as required. 
  18. Self-monitor for signs of illness and report to the medical officer, immediately if symptoms develop 
Ensure that you continue to undertake tasks related to care of pregnant women, newborn and sick children, post-natal care, breastfeeding and nutritional counselling, TB and NCD patient follow-up while taking preventive measures 
Remember older people are at higher risk, so take special care to visit homes of elderly people

Be supportive, be informed, be kind!

 More FAQs by Dr. Prof S M Rajendran