What is Coronavirus: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

At a Glance:

The outbreak of a newly detected virus, 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has rippled across India and is exponentially spreading. Coronavirus is contagious and can cause pneumonia-like diseases. This new virus is concerning and calls for a reminder on the importance of precautionary measures against the respiratory virus. The virus has caused several deaths and serious conditions in many patients.

Novel coronavirus is highly infectious, Social distancing primary to fight COVID-19.

What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

2019 Novel Coronavirus (more commonly known as Coronavirus) is a large group of virus that causes respiratory illness. It is common in animals and has recently seen spread from animals-to-humans. The intensity of the virus ranges from common cold acute respiratory symptoms.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

People who have been diagnosed with coronavirus exhibit symptoms similar to those of other viral respiratory infections. Some coronavirus symptoms are:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

Is there any cure for coronavirus?

No, there is currently no antiviral vaccine or treatment for 2019-NCoV. Thus, it is advised that you remain careful about the food you consume, avoid close contact with infected people, and remain careful in public spaces. People who suspect coronavirus infection should contact doctor immediately. Patients receive supportive care to relieve symptoms and to support vital organ functions.

How can coronavirus spread?

Coronavirus initially spreads through animals. It can also be transmitted from one infected person to another through:

  • Breathing the air by coughing or sneezing. 
  • Close contact with the infected person. 
  • Touching infected objects and having direct contact with your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Who are at risk for serious illness due to coronavirus?

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.  Based upon available information to date, those most at risk include

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of any age with the following underlying medical conditions, particularly those that are not well controlled
    • Chronic lung disease or asthma
    • Congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease
    • Diabetes
    • Neurologic conditions that weaken ability to cough
    • Weakened immune system
    • Chemotherapy or radiation for cancer (currently or in recent past)
    • Sickle cell anemia
    • Chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis
    • Cirrhosis of the liver
    • Lack of spleen or a spleen that doesn’t function correctly
    • Extreme obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40)
  • People who are pregnant

Can Coronavirus be prevented?

Since there is no vaccination available for curing the disease, coronavirus prevention is key to maintaining good health. You may be able to reduce the risk of catching this virus by trying the below preventions:

  • Maintain good hand hygiene by constantly washing hands before and after any activity.
  • Wear a mask in crowded areas. 
  • Avoid contact with animals and people who are already sick.
  • Avoid direct contact with the eyes and nose as much as possible. 
  • While coughing or sneezing use tissues to cover both mouth and nose.
  • Properly cook the meat and eggs for consuming. 

If you are feeling mildly sick, keep yourself hydrated and take plenty of rest.

The coronavirus belongs to the same family of viruses as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS virus. It initially starts from fever and can become as severe as pneumonia and bronchitis. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should immediately contact your doctor.

What should you do if there is an outbreak in your community?

During an outbreak, stay calm and put your preparedness plan to work. Follow the steps below:

Protect yourself and others.

  • Stay home if you are sick. Keep away from people who are sick. Limit close contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet).

Put your household plan into action.

  • Stay informed about the local COVID-19 situation. Be aware of temporary school dismissals in your area, as this may affect your household’s daily routine.
  • Continue practicing everyday preventive actions. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily using a regular household detergent and water.
  • Notify your workplace as soon as possible if your regular work schedule changes. Ask to work from home or take leave if you or someone in your household gets sick with COVID-19 symptoms, or if your child’s school is dismissed temporarily. 
  • Stay in touch with others by phone or email. If you have a chronic medical condition and live alone, ask family, friends, and health care providers to check on you during an outbreak. Stay in touch with family and friends, especially those at increased risk of developing severe illness, such as older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions.
  • “Symptoms and Diagnoses”.CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/symptoms.html . Accessed 28 January 2020.
  • “Coronavirus Update”. Mayoclinic, newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/coronavirus-update/ . Accessed 28 January 2020.
  • “Common symptoms of coronavirus”. WebMD, www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus#2 . Accessed 28 January 2020.
  • “Coronavirus Infections” US. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus, medlineplus.gov/coronavirusinfections.html . Accessed 28 January 2020.
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