Corona Virus Complete Safety Guide
The onset of the year 2020 also came up with the outbreak of a deadly Corona Virus. It was first reported in the city of Wuhan, China on 31st December 2019. It spread virally affecting 111751 people globally and taking the lives of 3888 people as reported(1). In the US, coronavirus cases cross 500 and the death toll rose to 22 to date(2). The virus has spread globally causing a panic situation everywhere. People are avoiding social gatherings, eating outside, traveling to crowded areas, etc. Let us see in this post, what actually the virus is and how we can stay safe from it.
What is Corona Virus (COVID-19)?
Corona Viruses are a big family of viruses that causes sickness ranging from common flu, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)(3). Corona has got its name from a group of spiked proteins on their outer surface which looks like a crown or corona under a microscope.
There is a total of seven types of coronaviruses. Four of them cause mild upper respiratory tract infections and rest three have recently jumped from animals to humans cause severe disease.
SARS-CoV-2 is a beta corona virus which originated in bats and then its spread to humans via animal contact. Now it is spread from person to person.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is named so because it was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. After that, it spread to several other countries including the United States. People infected with MERS developed fever, cough, and shortness of breath(4).
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS) was first developed in 2003 in China. It is characterized by severe pneumonia, extreme difficulty in breathing and sometimes death. It is caused by SARS- associated coronavirus which was spread from small mammals to people in China(5).
A novel coronavirus(nCoV) is a new strain in the family of coronaviruses which has not been previously identified in humans.
How is Coronavirus Spread?
Coronavirus is spread when the infected person coughs or sneezes and its droplets are spread in the air. Any person can catch it if they breathe or touch these particles. This virus may live on hands, tissues, or any other surface up to several hours in the form of droplets. It is also spread through the air.
Symptoms usually occur after 2 to 15 days of coming in contact with the virus.
Symptoms of COVID-19?
The main symptoms of Coronavirus(COVID-19) are:
- Difficulty in Breathing
- Shortness of Breath
In some cases, the patient may also have
- Bodyache due to cough and fever
Tests that confirm Coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) Laboratory testing for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) are of two categories:
- Molecular Tests
- Serology Tests
The Molecular Tests are used to diagnose the active infection in people who are suspected to be infected by it. Real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assays are the tests that are used to detect viral RNA in clinical samples.
For this rRT-PCR assay, CDC collects multiple specimens of,
- blood samples
- swabs from the back of the nose and throat
- fluid samples from lungs
- urine and stools samples
A MERS patient is considered to be negative for active MERS-CoV infection following two consecutive negative rRT-PCR tests on all specimens.
Serology tests are done to check if the person was previously affected by the virus by detecting the antibodies to MERS-CoV (6).
There is no specific treatment or vaccine for Coronavirus. Some medications are given only to relieve the symptoms. The best way is to avoid infection.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Wash and sanitize your hands as much as possible with alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Better wear a mask while traveling in public spaces, you never know who might be affected.
- Avoid animals, animal products(uncooked meat), animal markets.
- Cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing.
- Sanitize your hands after handshakes, before eating or touching your eyes, nose, mouth.
- Do not share food, drinks or utensils.
- Use disinfectants to clean commonly used surfaces.
Use these safety guidelines and stay alert, careful in the time of this world crisis.