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Coronavirus – What You Need to Know

Coronavirus is a new virus included in the family of viruses that cause common cold, SARS and MERS. It causes respiratory illness and is very contagious.

Its point of origin has been determined by experts in Wuhan city, in the Hubei province in China.

As of now, this virus has spread and been confirmed in Japan, Thailand, and Sound Korea. The WHO has issued an international cautionary warning about the spread of the virus.

So, it’s important to be aware of coronavirus and how to protect yourself from it.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is the name of a family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses from the common cold to diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

There are a huge number of coronaviruses that are known but only 7 strains are known to affect humans. Coronaviruses have been determined to be transmitted to humans by animals.

The current strain of coronavirus was previously unknown. This new strain has been named 2019-nCoV. As this virus is completely new, little is known about it. Thus, no treatment has yet been discovered.

Coronavirus spread

Transmission of Coronavirus:

Coronavirus can be transmitted between humans similar to the common cold. This virus has already spread to many cities in China with reports of infection in Japan, Thailand and South Korea.

As like the common cold, this virus spreads through coughing, sneezing and physical contact. After being infected, the symptoms appear after 5 days. Though this period may vary.

This virus is very contagious. International agencies have already started taking various measures to stop this virus from spreading and prevent an epidemic.

Symptoms of Coronavirus Infection:

  1. Fever:

The first symptom of infection is generally fever. The symptoms are like that of common cold. High fever, weakness and feeling tired are the first symptoms of coronavirus.

  1. Cough:

The next symptom of coronavirus is a dry cough. Coughing appears within 7 days of infection. Coronavirus spreads through the respiratory system, through the cough and sneezing of an infected person.

So if you experience any of these symptoms, always cover your face with a mask when outside. Avoid contact with anyone showing these signs.

  1. Respiratory Distress:

After one-week signs of respiratory distress begin to appear. The signs include breathlessness, difficulty in breathing and in severe cases pneumonia. At this stage, the patient needs to be hospitalized.

How deadly is Coronavirus?

So far around 2700 cases of coronavirus 2019-nCoV have been reported and 80 deaths have been confirmed. All deaths have been in China, the majority of them being in the Hubei province.

The global mortality rate of this new virus has been reported to be 2%. However, as information is still scarce, there may be more unreported cases of infection and deaths.

How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus:

stay safe from Coronavirus

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with alcohol bases soap or sanitizer. Wash hands after visiting a public venue and after greeting someone having symptoms of infection.
  • Cover your face while coughing or sneezing. Use your elbow to cover your nose or a tissue. Throw away the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
  • Wear a mask while visiting public or crowded places like buses, trains, markets, etc. Wash your hands immediately after returning home.
  • While outside, avoid rubbing your nose with your hands.
  • If you’re in a virus-risk area, avoid direct contact with live animals and poultry in markets or surfaces in contact with animals.
  • Make sure your meat is cooked properly before eating. Undercooked meat carries the risk of being infected.
  • Raw meat, milk and other food should be handled carefully to prevent cross-contamination.
  • If you have been to an area experiencing coronavirus outbreak, speak to your doctor or health official for advice.

Coronavirus infection is not yet a global emergency. But following past outbreaks of swine flu and Ebola, it’s necessary to be well prepared to prevent the spread of this illness and protect yourself.

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I'm a medical student from Bangladesh. As a doctor in the making, I'm fascinated by the regular advancements of medical science. This fuels my passion for trying to follow a health-conscious lifestyle. I love writing and sharing thoughts and ideas. I hope that my work can reach out and help people to enjoy a healthy, happy life. Muhtasim Munir MBBS (3rd year) Armed Forces Medical College

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