Thursday, April 9, 2020

COVID-19: Basic things to know.



What part of the system or organ does corona virus affect?

The virus responsible for the pandemic that has engulfed the globe. Sickening almost half a million is one of hundreds in the family of corona viruses. Yet before the current outbreak, corona viruses were poorly studied. They mostly circulate among animals, and in the few cases where they have infected humans..they’ve mostly caused symptoms of the common cold. And previous outbreaks of corona viruses have been comparatively small. SARS and MERS together killed fewer people overall than this virus did in less than two months

But now, understanding corona viruses has become crucial as this one, SARS-CoV-2, continues to spread. And a big part of that understanding will come from looking at the virus itself. Viruses work by hijacking cells in the body. They enter host cells and reproduce. They can then spread to new cells around the body.

Corona viruses mostly affect the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM , which is a group of organs and tissues that allow the body to breathe. Respiratory illnesses affect different parts of this respiratory system, such as the lungs. A corona virus typically infects the lining of the throat, airways, and lungs.

Early symptoms of corona virus may include coughing or shortness of breath. In some cases, it can cause severe damage to the lungs. For example, some people might develop acute respiratory distress, leading to severe breathing difficulties. Usually, the immune system will identify and respond to corona virus early by sending special proteins, or antibodies, to fight the infection.

The immune response to infection has side effects for the body, including fever. During an infection, white blood cells release pyrogens, a substance that causes fever. A temperature of greater than 100.4°F from an oral thermometer indicates a fever.

Sometimes other symptoms will occur alongside a fever, including:
  • runny nose
  • head and body aches
  • difficulty sleeping
  • sore throat
  • sweats
  • chills
These symptoms will usually last until the body fights off the corona virus. Symptoms might not show up straightaway. For example, people with COVID-19 may get symptoms 2 to 14 days after infection. Most epidemiologists, given the paucity of data, have been forced to model the spread of the new corona virus as if it were a binary phenomenon: individuals are either exposed or unexposed, infected or uninfected, symptomatic patients or asymptomatic carriers.

Recently, the Washington published a particularly striking online simulation, in which people in a city were depicted as dots moving freely in space—uninfected ones in gray, infected ones in red (then shifting to pink, as immunity was acquired). Each time a red dot touched a gray dot, the infection was transmitted.
With no intervention, the whole field of dots steadily turned from gray to red. Social distancing and isolation kept the dots from knocking into one another, and slowed the spread of red across the screen.

WAYS TO PREVENT CORONA VIRUS

Do
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell
  • Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell
Don't
  • Touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH THE VIRUS

1. Stay Home and Call a Health Care Provider

Unless it is an emergency, to reduce your risk of catching or spreading illness, stay home if you feel sick, even if your symptoms are mild. Do not go to work, school or public places, and avoid public transportation. If your symptoms are severe or you feel like you need medical care, call before you go to a doctor’s office, urgent care center or emergency room. Describe your symptoms over the phone.
If you have a medical emergency, call  the NCDC Emergency line 0800 970000 10 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms and recent travel history.

2. Answer Questions to Determine Your Risk

When you call a health care facility, you will be asked about your risks for COVID-19. Risk factors include recent travel to certain countries or areas of the U.S., or exposure to an infected person.

For instance, people calling Johns Hopkins Health System hospitals or clinics are asked:

  • Have you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new corona virus? (Close contact means having been within 6 feet of that person for an extended time, or being exposed to their cough or sneeze.)
  • Do you have a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing?
  • Has a public health officer said you were potentially exposed to COVID-19?
3. Follow Your Health Care Provider’s Instructions

Based on your answers to these questions, the care provider will provide instructions over the phone. You will be told if you need to be evaluated, and if so, what to do next. Based on your risk for COVID-19, your health care provider may recommend that you:
  • Continue to monitor your health and call back if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms.
  • Stay home and await further instructions.
  • Report to a designated medical care facility for evaluation and treatment. It’s best to go alone to your appointment. Do not bring children or other family members unless you need assistance.
  • Go to a clinic or emergency department if you have more severe symptoms, such as higher fever and severe shortness of breath.
4. Practice Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
  • If you do leave your home to go to a care facility, wear a mask so your coughs and sneezes are less likely to infect others. (Masks are NOT recommended for healthy people in the general population.)
  • Wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) after sneezing, blowing your nose, coughing or using the bathroom, and before preparing or eating food.
  • If you cough or sneeze, do so into the bend of your elbow, not your hand. Or use a tissue, and then throw it away immediately afterward.
  • At home, clean often-touched surfaces such as doors and doorknobs, cabinet handles, bathroom hardware, tabletops, phones, tablets and keyboards regularly with disinfectant.
5. Stay Calm

The possibility of having a contagious illness is scary, but doctors, nurses and other caregivers are learning more about COVID-19 every day. They are working together with national and international agencies to identify and provide care to patients while avoiding spread of the illness in the community.


Article Written By: Adedugbe Olatoun Angel

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