Coronavirus disease, also called COVID-19 is one of the highly infectious diseases. SARS and MARS also belong to the coronavirus family, but COVID 19 is the most dangerous.
Why is COVID-19 so dangerous?
Although we are living in this 21st century with a large number of highly advanced technologies and medical equipments, still we had to bow down before this coronavirus. The main reason behind this is the huge capability of this virus to spread. In a survey, it has been found, a person infected with the common cold, which is also a communicable disease, is likely to spread the infection to about 4 healthy people around him. While a person infected with coronavirus spreads the infection to about 10 healthy people around him.
How is this virus spreading so fast, even in advanced countries, where people are aware of it?
The major problem with COVID 19 is its incubation period. The incubation period is the time period between the instant when the person got infected, and the instant, when his first symptoms begin to appear. The incubation period of this virus may range from 2 to 14 days.
Thus, a person infected with COVID 19 will obviously consider himself as fit and fine during the incubation period, which may extend up to 14 days. At this time, he visits various other places, including market places, malls, railway station and other public places and thus spread the dangerous virus to a large number of people. In this way, the number of COVID19 affected people is growing at an exponential rate.
What is the mode of transmission of coronavirus?
The primary mode of transmission of coronavirus is through the droplets of saliva or nasal discharge of an infected person. To explain the mode of transmission, let us go through a simple example. Ramesh is infected with the virus, and he sneezes in his boss’s room. The virus particle-laden droplets get sprayed on his boss’s table. When his boss comes to the office 5 minutes later, it is not possible for the boss to see those microdroplets in his table. He works with his hands on the table, and thus, the skin of his hand is now covered with virus particles. But the virus cannot pass through the skin, so the boss is still now uninfected. 10 minutes later, he is served coffee and biscuits and he eats both of them without washing his hands before eating. In this process, the virus particles go inside his body through the biscuit and thus, he is now an infected person.
But, he will not be able to understand until the first symptoms appear and act as a carrier for the virus till then. There is a high risk that his wife and children may also get infected as they will remain in close contact with him.
What are the symptoms of COVID 19?
People affected by COVID 19 do not show any dedicated or unique symptoms. The initial symptoms are quite similar to that of the common flu. The symptoms include fever, tiredness, dry cough, shortness of breath, aches and pains and sore throat in some cases.
Most patients just undergo mild respiratory diseases and may heal without the need for any special treatment. But the case is different with older people above the age of 50 or people who have a weak immune system. They have a very high risk to develop serious illness and even death.
Anyone who is suspected to be affected by COVID-19 must be isolated and then the various tests should be carried out. In case of high fever or shortness of breath, you must consult a doctor without any delay.
Fever and cough don’t always mean that you are infected by coronavirus. It may the simple flu too. The chances of getting infected by this virus are more if you have travelled to foreign countries or places, where the number of corona infected people is very high.
What steps can we take to prevent the spread of COVID19?
We all know, prevention is better than cure. But in the case of COVID 19, we don’t have any cure till now. Thus the only way open for us is PREVENTION. Our fight is with such an enemy, who is completely invisible to us.
By now, you can very well understand, it is not possible to differentiate between a fit person and a person infected by COVID 19 who is in his incubation period. This is high time to practice the basic respiratory etiquette. Also follow the mentioned procedures to prevent coronavirus from spreading:-
- We must use our hanky while coughing or sneezing, as it will prevent the droplets from spreading in a large area. In case you don’t have your hanky with you, flex your elbow and cough into it.
- Always wash your hands after coming from public places and before having meals with soap or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Maintain a distance of at least one meter from everyone.
- Smoking must be avoided, as it weakens the lungs.
- Stay away from public places and if you feel sick.
- Clean the surfaces which are touched frequently, with strong disinfectants.
- Maintaining personal hygiene is also very important.
- Do not touch your nose, eyes or mouth when you are in public places. You should only touch them after cleaning your hands properly, as there is a huge chance that virus particles may enter your body through the openings of the nose and ears too.
Role of Surgical masks during this pandemic
N-95 medical masks are best suited to prevent the spread of COVID 19. But there is a huge scarcity of the surgical face masks in the current scenario. In this condition, surgical masks have helped a lot. If you are having any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you must use either the surgical mask or the N-95 mask, to reduce the spread of infection.
According to WHO, if you don’t have any symptoms, it is not necessary for you to use any mask. Simply abiding the respiratory etiquettes would work.
Doctors and other health staffs are trying their best to recover people by using various medicines which are designed for other diseases like HIV, Pneumonia, etc. Please follow the above-mentioned steps to prevent the spread of this deadly disease. Also, maintain social distancing. If we are aware, we will surely win this war against COVID 19.