In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has spread across the world and caused a series of temporary closures for schools, businesses, events, sports, concerts and social gatherings. Understandably people are asking, what is coronavirus and what should I do if I have symptoms?
Let’s cover what we know about coronavirus so far. There are many variants of coronavirus, but today we will be focusing on COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2).
What is coronavirus COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2)?
The COVID-19 coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in Dec 2019. It is a zoonotic virus meaning it usually circulates around animals but has now been transferred to humans. Which animal it came from and how it transferred from animals to humans remains unclear, however bats are said to be the most likely origin.
Coronavirus transmission thought to occur through droplets either in the air or on surfaces. How long the coronavirus virions stay contagious in the air or on surfaces has not been confirmed to date. It’s said different surface materials and temperatures have an effect on coronavirus transmission.
The novel coronavirus attacks the respiratory system, causing symptoms including high temperature, dry cough, and in some cases severe pneumonia like illness that has led to fatalities. The elderly and people with underlying medical conditions are those who are said to be most at risk from severe symptoms.
The CDC has posted some Emergency warning signs of coronavirus to look out for which you may find useful:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
What to Do if You Are Sick
Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
Follow the steps below: If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have it, follow the steps below to help protect other people in your home and community.
Stay home except to get medical care
- Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
- Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.
- Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people in your home, this is known as home isolation
- Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific “sick room” and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.
- Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people with the virus limit contact with animals until more information is known.
- When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick with COVID-19. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
Wear a facemask if you are sick
If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live in the home should stay in a different room. When caregivers enter the room of the sick person, they should wear a facemask. Visitors, other than caregivers, are not recommended.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can.
- Wash hands: Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean your hands often
- Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
- Soap and water: Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid sharing personal household items
- Do not share: Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
- Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
- Clean and disinfect: Routinely clean high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but not your bedroom and bathroom. Disinfect high-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
- Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
- Household cleaners and disinfectants: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
So, we have talked about what is coronavirus and what to do if you have symptoms, but what if you have no symptoms at all? If you have no symptoms, follow any social distancing guidelines or coronavirus recommendations from the CDC. There have been cases of coronavirus transmission that present no symptoms, but it is still contagious.
Prevention is the best cure, so follow the tips above and read ‘How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus by Improving Your Immunity’.
The article lists things that have been proven to boost your immunity in natural ways from supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin D and D-Lenolate Olive Leaf Extract, as well as showing certain lifestyle habits that could be lowering your immunity. While the pandemic persists, it’s more important than ever to look after yourself from the inside out.