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coronavirus

what is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses or family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus) and SARs (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus). Coronaviruses circulate in animals and few of them have the capability of transmitting between animals and humans.

what is coronavirus, covid-19

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is a virus closely linked to the SARS virus. It was earlier known by the provisional name 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The disease was first reported in Wuhan, China. 

epidemiology

During December 2019, the health authorities in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China observed a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause. The first few cases had connects  to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market and therefore, the virus is thought to be of zoonotic origin, The new virus that has caused the outbreak is known as SARS-CoV-2. It is believed to be closely related to bat coronaviruses, pangolin coronaviruses, and SARS-CoV. 

how does covid-19 spread

a) People to People contact:

The virus is believed to spread mainly from one person to another. It generally spreads between people who are in close contact (6 feet or lesser) with each other. When the infected person sneezes, the respiratory droplets produced enter the mouths or noses of nearby people and can get inhaled into the lungs.

People who are at the sickest level (most symptomatic level) are thought to be most contagious.

Although it may also be possible for people to be contagious before they show any symptoms.

b) Contact with contaminated objects or surfaces:

It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 if he/she touches a contaminated surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches their own nose,  mouth or eyes. Although this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

diagnosis of covid-19

Infection by the Coronavirus can be diagnosed provisionally on the basis of patient symptoms, history of travel, contact with infected patients and diagnostic imaging. The confirmation for COVID-19 is finally done by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) of infected secretions.

symptoms and prevention of covid-19

Symptoms to watch for

Reported illnesses from COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to critical illness which may include life threatening consequences.

After exposure, the following symptoms may appear after 2 to 14 days. 

  • The affected people are most likely to develop a fever and dry cough
  • Other symptoms include fatigue and shortness of breath
  • Some less common symptoms are headache, sputum production, muscle pain, and sore throat

Most cases result in mild symptoms but some may lead to pneumonia and multi-organ failure. The fatality rate of COVID-19 is estimated at between 1% and 5%  worldwide and is highly dependent on the age of the patient. Average death for patients over 80 years old is 15% or more worldwide.

steps to prevent illness

Currently there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The most recommended way to prevent illness is to avoid getting exposed to this virus.

1) Important steps to protect yourself

  • Wash and clean your hands often : Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum 20 seconds after you have been in a public place, or after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If soap is not readily available, you may use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. Do not touch your nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick:If COVID-19 is spreading in your region or community, keep distance between yourself and other people. This is even more important for people who are aged or at higher risk of getting sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick :  If you are sick, stay at home, except to get medical care. In the next section we will explain what to do if you are sick.

2) Steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick or someone in your home is infected

If you are already infected with COVID-19 or suspect that you or someone in your family is infected, follow the below mentioned steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to other people.

  1. Stay home except to get medical care : People who show mild symptoms of COVID-19 are recommended to get isolated at home during their illness, except for getting medical care. Do not go to public areas, work or school and avoid using public transportation.
  2. Stay away from other people: Separate yourself as much as possible, you must stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. It is also advisable that you use a separate bathroom, if it’s there.
  3. Limit contact with pets: While you are sick with COVID-19, you must restrict contact with pets and other animals. Although there have been no reports of animals getting sick with COVID-19, it is still advisable that people infected with COVID-19 do not touch pets and other animals till more information is known about the virus.
  4. Call before visiting your doctor: If you already have an appointment with the doctor, call and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This is very important and will surely help the healthcare provider to take steps to keep other people from getting exposed.
  5. Wear a facemask if you are infected: The sick person must wear a facemask when he/she is around other people or pets and before they enter a hospital or clinic. If the sick person is not able to wear a facemask because of breathing issues or some other problem, then people who live in the same house should not stay in the same room, and they should wear a facemask if they have to enter a room of the sick person.
  6. Cover your sneezes and coughs: When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Then throw the used tissues in a lined dustbin.
  7. Do not share personal household items: You must not share drinking glasses, cups, utensils, towels, or bedding with any other person or pets in your house. After using household items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
  8. Clean and disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces everyday: You must clean high touch surfaces like tabletops,  bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, desktop keyboards, phones and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have body fluids on them.

faqs

Q1: How does the Coronavirus spread?

A1: Human coronaviruses can spread from a person infected with COVID-19 virus to other close contacts. When the infected person coughs or sneezes, the contaminated droplets spread can enter the bodies of nearby people and infect them. It may also spread by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.

Q2: When do the symptoms appear?

A2: The time between when someone is exposed to the virus and when the symptoms appear for the first time is generally 5 to 6 days, although the duration can range from 2 to 14 days. Due to this reason people who are in contact with a confirmed case are recommended to isolate themselves for 14 days.

Q3: How can people prevent stigma related to COVID-19?

A3: Everyone must fight stigma and help others by providing social support. The best way to fight stigma is by learning and sharing facts. It must be communicated that viruses do not target specific ethnic or racial groups.

Q4: What is the source of this virus?

A4: Coronaviruses are actually a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in humans, and others, only infect animals. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses that infect animals have infected people and can spread between people. In the case of COVID-19 this is suspected to have occurred. Other two other examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to people are Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

Q5: Is COVID-19 deadly?

A5: It is an evolving situation and how it may affect people is still not fully clear. However, current information tells us that the fatality rate of people with infection lies between 1% to 5%. It is high in elderly and people with underlying health issues.

Q6: Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

A6: Currently, there is no vaccine available. Research is going on in many countries and scientists are trying their best to find a vaccine. At present, precaution and infection control measures are the most effective mode to prevent COVID-19.

Q7: Can COVID-19 spread through food?

A7: Coronaviruses are thought to be spreading from person-to-person through respiratory droplets/secretions. At present, there is no clear evidence that supports transmission of COVID-19 through food. However it is advised that before preparing or eating food it is best to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds as a general precaution. 

Q8: Who should wear a mask?

A8: For the general population who do not have any symptoms, there is no requirement to wear a mask. 

People who are showing respiratory symptoms should wear a mask so that they do not spread infection, if any, to other people. Most importantly they should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Q9: Will hot weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?

A9: It is not yet confirmed if weather and temperature have any impact on the spread of COVID-19. Although some viruses, like common cold and flu, spread more during cold months but that does not mean that one can’t become sick with these viruses during warm months.  Currently, it is not clear whether the spread of COVID-19 will reduce when the weather becomes warmer.  

Q10: Who is at higher risk of getting COVID-19?

A10: Information from China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting sick from this illness. This includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes,hypertension and lung disease.

Q11: What should people with higher risk of COVID-19 do?

A11:If you fall in the higher risk category of getting sick from COVID-19, you should: stock up on your daily supplies; take precautions to keep distance between yourself and others when you go out in public, be away from people who are sick; wash your hands often; avoid public places and non-essential travel. Keep a close eye on symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay at your home and call your doctor to inform your symptoms and seek advice.

Q12: Who should get tested for COVID-19?

A12: If you have symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing, or you have been in close contact with a person having COVID-19, or you have a history of travel to high risk countries or come in contact with people who have recently traveled to higher risk countries (China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, USA, UK, EU, Iran), call your doctor or healthcare professional. The healthcare professional will determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Q13: I have travelled to a higher risk country. What should I do?

A13: If you have stayed in or transited through a higher risk country in the last 14 days, you must self isolate yourself for 14 days, counting from the day you departed the higher risk country. You must monitor yourself for symptoms and if you develop fever or respiratory symptoms, please call your healthcare provider urgently.

how can portea support in prevention:  

Portea is amongst the best in-home medical care providers in India. You can get the best support services at the comfort of your home and be safe.

People with mobility issues or people recovering from a surgery, who are intending to visit hospital to seek medical support services can avoid it by availing in-home medical support services.

Have you been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19? Are you a frequent traveller? Are you above 60 yrs of age? Do you have Diabetes/High BP? Do you have Flu like symptoms? Do you fall sick often? Contact Portea to support you medically for self quarantine at home.

People with mild suspected cases or those discharged from hospital post treatment of COVID-19 can seek home care services for continuity of medical care. These medical support services are provided through Portea’s experienced nurses, doctors and health professionals.

We also offer Home Quarantine services for COVID-19 and also provide disinfectant kits.

Also note that Portea does not conduct COVID-19 tests. Please contact the relevant hospitals mentioned in the link here https://icmr.nic.in/sites/default/files/upload_documents/Testing_sites_for_COVID19.pdf  

Some of the prominent home services offered by Portea include:

Content is medically reviewed by Dr. Vishal Sehgal(Medical Director, Portea)

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