The deadly COVID-19 has been the greatest challenge that the world has faced since World War II. Ever since its emergence in late 2019, it has spread to every continent around the globe, and cases have been continuously rising in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
A lot of countries are doing their best to slow down the spread of the virus through massive testing, contact tracing, and general quarantine. However, due to the lack of vaccine and effective treatment, millions of people had already been infected with the disease and almost 400,000 have suffered a fatal outcome as of the end of May 2020.
Today, the world is still in uncharted territory and the world economy has suffered greatly because of it. But no matter how difficult the situation is, we must do our part to contain the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Every individual should help by making sure that each of us follows the preventive protocols that are set by our countries and we should learn more about how we can protect ourselves from the disease in order to defeat this worldwide pandemic
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large group or family of viruses that can infect humans, birds, and other mammals. These viruses are known to cause several diseases that range from the common cold up to more critical upper respiratory diseases such as SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), and the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
Throughout history, there are at least seven different types of Coronaviruses that have been identified to affect humans. Most of us will be or have been infected with at least one type of Coronavirus throughout our lifetime.
Typically, these types of viruses spread from one person to another through close contact, coughing, sneezing, touching, contact with a contaminated surface or object, and sometimes through fecal contamination.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a serious infectious disease that is caused by a new strain of Coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2; which was formerly known as 2019-nCoV). This virus is closely connected and linked to the infamous SARS virus that also caused a pandemic from the year 2002 until 2003.
The term COVID-19 was derived from the following:
“CO” –for Corona
“VI” – for Virus
“D” – for Disease
“19”- for 2019
As of the time of writing, there are still no specific cures, treatments, or vaccines that are available for the COVID-19. However, there are a lot of ongoing clinical trials, tests, and evaluations that are being conducted as a potential cure or vaccine for the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and is providing regular updates and information regarding its development.
History and Origin of COVID-19
According to the World Health Organization, the first human case that was affected by the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City, China. Although not everyone that was initially affected with the disease has a connection with the food market in Wuhan, most of them were either market employees, stall owners, or was considered as a regular visitor to the market.
Based on the investigation, environmental samples that were taken in December 2019 from the Wuhan market tested positive for COVID-19 which further suggests that it was the initial source of the outbreak, or at least it played a major role in the spread of the virus.
The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on January 30, 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. And after it spread to various countries, the World Health Organization finally declared on March 11, 2020, that the COVID-19 has become a global pandemic.
A lot of researchers suggest that the COVID-19 has an ecological origin derived from the bat population. Even though unconfirmed, all evidence as of June 1, 2020, suggests that the COVID-19 comes from a natural animal origin and is not a lab constructed or a manipulated virus.
Signs and Symptoms
People that are infected with the COVID-19 usually have a wide variety of reported signs and symptoms that ranges from mild to severe illnesses. Once a person has contracted the virus, his or her symptoms would appear two to fourteen days after he or she has contracted the disease.
The duration between the time of infection until the time that he or she shows signs of symptoms is called the incubation period. Typically, the average incubation period for an infected person lasts for 5 to 6 days.
Based on the information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 symptoms can appear mild at the beginning and gradually increases over time. The CDC stated that COVID-19 patients may experience a wide variety of symptoms that includes shortness of breath and dry cough.
Infected people may also experience a combination of at least 2 of the following signs and symptoms:
- Muscle pain
- Loss or disturbance of taste and/or smell
- Repeated shaking
- Sore throat
Based on the study conducted by Daniele Borsetto, MD in Europe, the likelihood of the appearance of the symptoms above has the following percentages:
Fatigue – 68.3%
Loss or disturbance of taste and/or smell – 64.4%
Dry Cough – 60.4%
Fever – 55.5%
Muscle pain – 44.6%
Headache – 42.6%
Shortness of breath – 41.1%
Sore throat – 31.2%
Other signs and symptoms that COVID-19 patients may experience include the following:
- Blocked nose
When it comes to young adults and children, the symptoms of the virus are usually mild and have the following likelihood of appearance percentages:
Fever – 56%
Dry cough – 54%
Shortness of breath – 13%
Other symptoms that children and young adults may develop includes:
- Abdominal pain
- Blocked nose
- Muscle pain
- Runny nose
Fortunately, children that are infected with COVID-19 are more likely to recover within one to two weeks with no other additional issues. However, parent and guardians of children that are showing signs and symptoms of infection must contact their health providers and must confine the infected child inside their homes.
Overall, the severity of the symptoms of the virus can range from being very mild to being very severe. Some may experience few symptoms and others may show no signs of symptoms at all, while others may have severe symptoms, such as pneumonia and extreme shortness of breath.
Prevention and Precautionary Measures
COVID-19 is primarily spread through close contact with an infected person. Those that don’t have any symptoms but are infected may still spread the disease. The virus can spread from person to person through the following conditions:
- Contact with a person carrying the disease (within 6 feet)
- Through droplets that are produced by an infected person when he or she talks, sneezes, or cough
The virus is also known to spread through other means such as:
- Touching an object or surface that has been contaminated with the virus
- Contact with an animal that is infected with the disease
How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
In order to reduce the risk of exposure to the disease, we need to protect ourselves from the virus by adapting the following precautionary measures and preventive actions:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with any alcohol-based sanitizer to kill the viruses that may be on your hand. Alternatively, you can use soap and water if an alcohol-based sanitizer is not available
- Follow social distancing protocols by maintaining at least a minimum distance of one meter between yourself and other people. This minimizes the risk of getting in contact with or breathing in other people’s droplets whenever they sneeze, cough, or talk.
- Avoid going to places that are crowded with people to prevent close contact with infected persons
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes to prevent the transfer of viruses inside your body. Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching any of the body parts mentioned
- Cover your mouth and nose with a face mask to prevent the virus from entering your body
- Make it a point that you cover your mouth and nose with a tissue whenever you need to cough or sneeze
- You should limit your contact with your pets and other animals
- Use your own cup, drinking glass, utensils, towels, beddings, and other personal items and do not share them with your pets or other people inside your house
- Regularly clean and disinfect high traffic areas inside your house
- If you have a cough, mild fever, or headache, you should isolate yourself and stay home until you recover. If you really need to go somewhere important, then make sure that you wear a mask and follow strict social distancing protocol to avoid contact with other people
- If you are experiencing symptoms of the virus, call your health officer immediately and inform him or her of your health status so that you can get proper instructions on what you need to do or where you should go to get proper treatment or care
- Be updated with the latest development and updates about the COVID-19 situation from reputable sources, such as the World Health Organization’s website, so that you can be prepared for any situations that may arise
Testing and Diagnosis
There are currently two kinds of tests that are used to check if a person is infected with COVID-19: The viral test and the antibody test.
A viral test is used to determine if a person is currently infected with COVID-19. This test involves taking a sample from a person’s respiratory system to check if he or she is currently infected with the SARS-CoV-2. This test is usually done by swabbing the inside of the nose of the patient to get the sample that is needed and then checking it if there are signs of infection.
The results may be available in less than an hour if it is taken in an established testing site or it can take up to 1 to 2 days if the sample needs to be taken to a laboratory for analysis.
An antibody test is taken to check if a person was previously infected with COVID-19. This test involves checking the blood of the patient to look for antibodies that will determine if the patient has been infected with COVID-19 in the past.
This test is not recommended for those that are currently infected because the test may not find antibodies that would determine if he or she has been affected by the disease.
Who Should Get Tested
The following are highly recommended to get tested for COVID-19 disease:
- Patients that are hospitalized because of their symptoms
- Healthcare workers and first responders that are experiencing symptoms
- Any person that has two or more symptoms of the disease
- Persons that are taking care of someone that is infected with COVID-19
- Family members and relatives that are living with or had contact with an infected person or someone that has symptoms of the disease
Caring for Someone with the Disease
If you are a health provider, first responder, or just someone that takes care of an infected person at home or somewhere that has non-healthcare settings, then it is recommended that you should follow the given instructions and protective measures below in order to help the patient and at the same time protect yourself from the COVID-19 disease.
- Wear gloves and face mask for protection and make sure that the patient is wearing a face mask or any covering for his or her face before entering the patient’s room
- Follow the instructions given by his or her doctor regarding patient care and medicine
- Check if over the counter fever medicines can help the patient feel better
- See to it that the patient drinks a lot of fluids and has plenty of time to rest
- Have his or her doctor’s contact details ready for emergencies
- Limit the patient’s contact with his or her pets
- Assist the patient with grocery shopping, filling medicine prescriptions, and other items that he or she needs
- Monitor the patient closely and watch for warning signs such as persistent pain, difficulty in staying awake or waking up, confusion, and bluish face or lips
- Avoid having guests or visitors
- Do not share personal items with the infected person
- Eat separately
- Wash the dishes and utensils that were used by the patient using gloves and hot water, or better yet use disposal items
- Always wash your hands when you remove your gloves and after handling items used by the patient
- Have a separate trash bin for all your used gloves, face masks, and items that were used by the patient
- Disinfect and sanitize the patient’s room and surrounding areas every day
- Wash the patient’s laundry using gloves and hot water
- Clean and disinfect your hands immediately after doing the patient’s laundry
- Regularly track your health for any signs of COVID-19 symptoms
What to Do if You Get Infected
If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, such a fever, and cough, then it may be possible that you are infected with the disease. If you think that you have been exposed to the virus then it is recommended to do the following:
- Contact your health provider and inform them of your health status.
- If you feel that you need to go to the hospital, call them first to inform them of the situation, and then follow their instructions and recommendations
If you have mild symptoms, stay at home, avoid contact with other people, take care of yourself, and keep track of your symptoms. If you feel that it is getting worse and you are experiencing some warning indications, like difficulty in breathing, get emergency care immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19
What is the Treatment or Cure for COVID-19?
As of June 2020, there is still no treatment, cure, or vaccine available for COVID-19. However, most of the symptoms of the disease can be treated, and getting the proper care early from healthcare providers can minimize the risk and make the disease less dangerous for yourself.
Who is Most at Risk with the Virus?
Older people and those that have chronic diseases are more prone to developing severe symptoms.
Can We Get Infected with the Food that We Eat?
As of today, there is no evidence that the disease can be transmitted through food. However, COVID-19 is known to be spread through respiratory secretions or droplets and thus it is recommended to wash our hands properly before eating or preparing food.
Who Should Get Tested for Infection?
Any person that is experiencing signs and symptoms of the disease is recommended to get tested for infection. Furthermore, medical professionals, first responders, and those people that have traveled to high-risk countries and areas should also get tested for COVID-19.
What Should I Use to Disinfect My Hands If a Hand Sanitizer is Not Available?
If an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is not available, disinfect your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to kill any viruses that may be present.
How Seva At Home Can Help
If you want to get more information on how Seva At Home can help you during this time of crisis, please send us a message on our contact us page and we will be happy to get in touch with you to talk about how we can help you with your COVID-19 situation.