COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), a highly contagious disease that was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China in December 2019, has gripped the entire world today. Considering the potential damage that COVID-19 can cause, it has become extremely important for us to remain well -informed about this viral infection and take adequate measures to keep ourselves, our loved ones and everyone in the country protected and safe.
Here’s the information about COVID-19 that you should know to safeguard your health in the current scenario.
Overview of COVID-19
COVID-19 is an acute respiratory infection caused by a virus belonging to the family of coronaviruses and is named as 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCov2. It is called novel since it has not been previously identified. The exact source of infection of 2019-nCoV has not been known but the virus is reportedly suggested to have emerged from an animal source, possibly bats, which is now transmitting among humans at an exponential rate.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), currently, there is no vaccine or special anti-viral treatment for COVID-19 but supportive care can help patients recover. Declared as a “controllable pandemic” by WHO, it can only be contained through strict social distancing, practicing good hand-hygiene, and abstaining from touching one’s face without washing hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. Notorious for mutating quickly and acquiring new qualities, these viruses are highly contagious and can spread from human-to-human. Coronaviruses can cause widespread infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Symptoms of COVID-19
People infected with novel coronavirus experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
In some cases, patients can also develop:
- Sore throat
- Aches and pains
- Gastronomic infections like diarrhoea and nausea
Causes of COVID-19
The novel coronavirus or 2019-n-CoV responsible for COVID-19 is believed to have originated from an animal source, which is now being transmitted from person-to-person through respiratory droplets expelled by the infected individual during coughing or sneezing and thereafter through physical contact.
Diagnosis for COVID-19
As per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, you are not required to get yourself tested for COVID-19 if you don’t have any symptoms such as fever, dry cough, and difficulty in breathing.
Prevention of COVID-19
“Prevention is better than cure”- this age-old proverb holds great significance in the current scenario when the whole world is making the best efforts to contain the spread of this deadly virus, especially when we have no vaccines to combat it. Do’s and Don’ts that will help you keep away from COVID-19.
COVID-19 Prevention Do’s
- Wash your hands frequently with alcohol-based hand-rub or soap and water. Washing hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds kills the virus that your hands might have caught by touching the contaminated surface.
- Practice Social Distancing. Since the virus spreads through respiratory droplets of the infected person, so, it is essential to stay at home as much as possible to avoid coming in contact with an infected individual. Keep away from all social engagements because nothing is more priceless than life.
- Maintain at least one meter or three feet distance preferably two meters from any sick person, or anyone coughing or sneezing since you are likely to inhale their oozed out respiratory droplets and become infected.
- If you feel unwell with flu-like symptoms such as fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, isolate yourself from others, and immediately connect with your doctor on call. Share your travel history with them and they will guide you on diagnosis and treatment, or you can connect with the state or central health authorities through their round-the-clock helpline services (mentioned above).
- Even if you develop mild symptoms such as slight fever, or a bit of tiredness, you are advised to isolate yourself from others until complete recovery.
- Practice Respiratory Hygiene. Cover your nose and mouth with handkerchief/tissue while sneezing and coughing, and dispose of them immediately after use.
- It is suggested to wear a mask only when you are sick with coughing and/or sneezing to avoid spreading the infection among others.
- If you have recently traveled to any of the COVID-19 affected countries like China, Italy, Iran, France, Spain, Germany, and the Republic of Korea, USA to name a few, then self-quarantine yourself for 14 days starting from the day of your arrival in India since the incubation period of COVID-19 is expected to be 14 days. You would surely not want to infect others by coming in contact with them. Remain in touch with your healthcare specialist for appropriate guidance.
- If you have come in contact with a COVID-19 positive person recently, then self-quarantine yourself and carefully monitor your health. Consult your doctor in case of any difficulty.
- It is recommended to remain updated about the travel advisories and other important guidelines related to COVID-19 issued by your local authorities and the Government of India, and strictly follow the instructions. Because we are all working towards making India corona-free.
- Be cautious when at home. Wash your hands vigorously after touching railings, trolleys, poles, Door handles, handgrips, etc.
- Be aware of touching doorbells, elevator buttons, milk bags, garbage bins, newspapers, etc. as they might be infected with the virus.
COVID-19 Prevention Don’ts
- Don’t engage in any kind of social activities as the chances of you being infected with COVID-19 are higher in large gatherings.
- Avoid visiting public places such as parks, malls, restaurants, movie theaters, or any other places that are swarmed by crowds.
- Avoid hand-shakes. Greet each other with “Namaste”, the traditional way of greeting in our country by folding one’s hands.
- Refrain from having unhygienic junk or street food. Rather, focus on taking a balanced diet that would strengthen your immune system and help you fight the infection.
- Don’t spit in public as the respiratory droplets can infect others and risk their lives as well.
- It is advisable to avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth without washing your hands with alcohol-based hand rub, or soap and water as the novel coronavirus enters your body through eyes and the respiratory tract.
- Avoid smoking and other activities that can weaken the lungs and make you more susceptible to the infection.