What are the Common Coronavirus Symptoms, how does it spread, and should you call a doctor?
What is Covid-19?
It is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has transferred to humans from animals. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a pandemic.
What are the coronavirus symptoms causes?
According to the WHO, the most common coronavirus symptoms are fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Some patients may also have a runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion and aches, and pains or diarrhea. About 80% of people who get Covid-19 experience a mild case – about as serious as a regular cold – and recover without needing any special treatment.
About one in six people, the WHO says, become seriously ill. The elderly and people with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, or chronic respiratory conditions, are at a greater risk of serious illness from Covid-19.
In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) has identified the specific symptoms to look for as experiencing either:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- a new continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work, and there is currently no vaccine. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system.
How does the COVID-19 virus spread?
The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing), and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.
How can I avoid the risk of infection?
Here are four precautions you and your family can take to avoid infection:
What is the best way to wash your hands properly?
Step 1: Wet hands with running water
Step 2: Apply enough soap to cover wet hands
Step 3: Scrub all surfaces of the hands – including the back of hands, between fingers and under nails – for at least 20 seconds.
Step 4: Rinse thoroughly with running water
Step 5: Dry hands with a clean cloth or single-use towel
Wash your hands often, especially before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; and going to the bathroom.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water, if hands are visibly dirty.
Should I wear a medical mask?
The use of a medical mask is advised if you have respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) to protect others. If you don’t have any symptoms, then there is no need to wear a mask.
If masks are worn, they must be used and disposed of properly to ensure their effectiveness and to avoid any increased risk of transmitting the virus.
The use of a mask alone is not enough to stop infections and must be combined with frequent hand washing, covering sneezes and coughs, and avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms (coughing, sneezing, fever).
Does COVID-19 affect children?
This is a new virus and we do not know enough yet about how it affects children or pregnant women. We know it is possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there have been relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported among children. The virus is fatal in rare cases, so far mainly among older people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Complications can include:
- Pneumonia in both lungs
- Organ failure in several organs
Although there is no vaccine available to prevent infection with the new coronavirus, you can take steps to reduce your risk of infection. WHO and CDC recommend following these precautions for avoiding COVID-19:
- Avoid large events and mass gatherings.
- Avoid close contact (about 6 feet) with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.
- Keep a distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, especially if you have a higher risk of serious illness.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if your hands aren’t clean.
- Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you’re sick.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch on a daily basis.
- Stay home from work, school, and public areas if you’re sick unless you’re going to get medical care. Avoid taking public transportation if you’re sick.
CDC doesn’t recommend that healthy people wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. Only wear a mask if a health care provider tells you to do so.
WHO also recommends that you:
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or animal organs.
- Avoid contact with live animals and surfaces they may have touched if you’re visiting live markets in areas that have recently had new coronavirus cases.
If you have a chronic medical condition and may have a higher risk of serious illness, check with your doctor about other ways to protect yourself.