If you are like me you probably heard about corona virus first from Lord sky’s music skit until you came across the news and realized that it isn’t a funny scene as the skit might have suggested- the corona virus has spread to so many persons across several countries, many celebrities too and some had even lost their friends and loved ones to this virus. Hence you were forced to ask:
What is this corona virus?
Corona virus comprises of a large family of viruses that are common in human beings as well animals (camels, cattle, cats, and bats). There are seven different strains of corona virus.
Two of which have cause a pandemic:
- MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or (MERS)
- SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or (SARS)
- SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or (COVID-19)
Towards December 2019, this novel corona virus was identified as a cause of upper and lower respiratory tract infections in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei Province of China. It rapidly spread, resulting in an epidemic throughout China and then gradually spreading to other parts of the world in pandemic proportions. It has affected almost every continent in this world, except Antarctica. In February 2020, the World Health Organization designated the disease COVID-19, which stands for corona virus disease 2019.
Corona virus disease 2019 - COVID-19 as designated by the WHO 9World Health Organisation) in February 2020 is the name for the disease caused by SARS- CoV 2 virus. The SARS- CoV 2 is one out of the 7 strains of the corona virus.
First case of COVID-19 was recorded in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei province of China. It rapidly spread making it an epidemic throughout china and then gradually spread to other parts of the world- hence it is now declared a pandemic by the WHO.
An epidemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time
A pandemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease over a country or the world.
As earlier stated the disease is currently affecting all continents of the world except Antarctica.
The disease affects mainly the middle-aged (>30) and the elderly. Symptomatic infection in children appears to be uncommon and when it occurs it is usually mild.
How does one get infected?
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. You can learn more of what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html
How do you know if you or someone else has been infected?
The symptoms include:
- Coughing (dry cough)
- Difficulty in breathing/ Shortness of breath
- Fatigue. Feeling of tiredness
- Muscle pains
Please note that these symptoms can also be seen in some other diseases, hence it should be noted that these symptoms are conclusive. Hence you are advised to carefully seek medical assistance as laid out in this article.
On occasion that you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you are not to self-medicate but to remain calm and stay at home.
At this point, it is necessary to mention that while the disease is highly contagious it is not as deadly. It is critical in mainly elderly and already seriously ill persons. Nevertheless, it may progress causing pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure and in some cases death.
How to avoid getting infected
Just as easily as it spreads it can also be prevented by taking very simple measures which includes:
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid person who have recently returned from any of the affected countries.
- Avoid close contact with people in general especially those who are seen coughing and/or sneezing repeatedly. To best way to avoid contact with people (potential cases) in self-isolation or social distancing.
- Only use a mask if you are infected as wearing one does not necessarily protect you.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces frequently especially for business people who must go to work.
Self-isolation implies that one stays at home and avoid coming into close distance with people. Seeing that every day in order to do business, school and engage in other activities that we engage in we constantly come into contact with people; the government has shut down all institutions leaving out hospitals, food markets and other essential institutions.
How to self-isolate
- It is simple, stay at home! You may get out only for very important reasons such as getting food stuffs.
- When going out to get essential stuffs ensure to stay at least 6 feet from people.
- Have a hand sanitizer handy and make us of it as often as your hands come in contact with objects or persons.
- As much as you can keep your hands in your pocket.
What to do if you think that you or someone is infected
What to do if you think you are infected,
- Do not self-medicate with chloroquine or any other drug or with herbal concoctions.
- Reach the NCDC toll-free call line (add the no)
What to do if you think someone else is infected
- Call the NCDC toll free number but only if you are sure - 080097000010
What not to do
- Do not self-medicate if you think you are infected.
- Do not spread false information
- Do not disregard guidelines from the government and health officials.
For more information,
You can visit the CDC, NCDC and WHO websites respectively.
Idakwo, Fervent Enyone is a 500L medical student of the University of Port Harcourt and an editor of the association (PUMSA). He is also serves as the Financial secretary of the association. He is an ambiverted creative- a saxophonist, creative designer sometimes a painter and at all times a lover of God and enthusiast of science, good health and leadership action.
Idakwo, Fervent Enyone