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What is COVID-19 (CORONA VIRUS)

covid-19

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. COVID-19 outbreak which began in China(first detected in Wuhan, China) cause mild to severe respiratory illness including death. COVID-19 has since spread worldwide. The best way to prevent yourself from it is by wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, washing hands often, avoiding sick people, keeping your hands away from your face and getting adequate rest and nutrition.

Below is more details about Covid-19 :

What is it and why it is dangerous?

These are a family of viruses that can cause respiratory illness in humans as well as in animals. They get their name, “corona,” for mainly the crown-like spikes on the surface of the virus. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and the common cold are examples of coronaviruses that cause illness in humans.

HOW IT SPREADS FROM PERSON TO PERSON?

  • Main way – When the virus travels in respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, sings or breathes near you (within six feet).
  • From close contact (touching, shaking hands, using same things) with an infected person.
  • By touching surfaces that the virus has landed on, then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing your hands.

TRANSMISSION (INSIDE THE BODY)

The virus enters your body through your mouth, nose or eyes (directly from the airborne droplets or from transfer of the virus from your hands to your face). The virus travels to the back of your nasal passages and mucous membrane in the back of your throat. It attaches to cells there, begins to multiply and moves into lung tissue. From there, the virus can spread to other body tissues.

DURATION OF SHOWING SYMPTOMS

Also called as “incubation period,” the time between becoming infected and showing symptoms, can range from 2 to 14 days. The average time before experiencing symptoms is 5 days. Symptoms can range in severity from very mild to severe. In about 80% of patients, COVID-19 causes only mild symptoms.

WHO IS MOST AT RISK

People over age 60 who have pre-existing medical conditions or a weakened immune system and the younger ones. However the new strain is also affecting the middle aged people. So it’s affecting age bracket is changed.

SYMPTOMS

You may have coronavirus if you have these symptoms or combination of symptoms:

  • Fever or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Tiredness.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headaches.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Sore throat.
  • Congestion or runny nose.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

Addition to this other symptoms are also possible. Symptoms may appear between two and 14 days after exposure to the virus. Children have similar, but usually milder, symptoms than adults. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk of more serious complication from COVID-19.

Get immediate medical attention if you have these warning signs:

  • Too much of trouble of breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in your chest.
  • New confusion.
  • Inability to arouse (wake up from sleep).
  • Bluish lips or face.

PRECAUTION AND PREVENTION

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds— especially before eating and preparing food, after using the bathroom, after wiping your nose, and after coming in contact with someone who has a cold.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of viruses from your hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and coughing or sneeze and cough into your sleeve. Throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands afterward. Never cough or sneeze into your hands!
  • Avoid close contact (within six feet) with those who have coughs, colds or are sick. Stay home if you are sick.
  • If you are prone to sickness or have a weakened immune system, stay away from large crowds of people. Follow the directions of your healthcare authorities especially during outbreaks.
  • Clean frequently used surfaces (such as doorknobs and counter tops) with a virus-killing disinfectant.
  • Use hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Greet people with a friendly gesture instead of shaking hands.
  • Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of liquids and exercise if you are able. These steps will strengthen your immune system and enable you to fight off infections easier.
  • Always wear face masks whenever you go outside.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEST FOR COVID-19

Molecular (RT-PCR) tests

  • The Molecular test, commonly known as the RT-PCR test, is a method of testing that is used to directly detect the presence of the virus in the sample. The test detects the virus’s RNA, which is the genetic material of the virus. The first step in this test is to convert this RNA to DNA using an enzyme known as the reverse transcriptase. The PCR testing then detects this DNA. Hence the name RT-PCR. These are also known as the diagnostic test and nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT).
  • A nasal or throat swab sample is taken.
  • Results are given the same day or within 2-3 days.
  • These tests are the most accurate. They have a high sensitivity and specificity.

COVID-19 Antigen Tests

  • A COVID-19 antigen refers to any foreign matter or viral proteins in the body that triggers an immune response. This test helps identify the antigens related to the COVID-19 virus. Antigen test, also known as rapid antigen test (RAT)  is a rapid diagnostic test that gives results faster than molecular tests. But there is a drawback, antigen tests have a higher chance of missing an active infection. 
  • Usually,anasal or throat swab sample is taken.
  • Since it is a rapid test, results are delivered in 1 hour or less.
  • Rapid tests are usually highly accurate if you test positive however a negative result might need to be confirmed using a molecular test.
  • These tests help diagnose active coronavirus in the sample.
  • The Antigen test might miss an active coronavirus infection in comparison to RT-PCR tests.

COVID-19 Antibody Tests

  • It is also known as Serology test, serological test, or Serology blood test, are screening tests for COVID-19 antibodies in your blood. It tells if you were previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The antibody test does not look for the active virus but checks whether your immune system has responded to the infection.
  •  It is tested by drawing your blood sample.
  • Results are delivered either the same day or in 1-3 days.
  • Sometimes a second COVID-19 antibody test might be needed for more accurate results.
  •  This test helps to find out if you were infected with the virus causing COVID-19 in the past and now have antibodies against it. 
  • A COVID-19 antibody test may not show if you have an active virus in your body causing COVID-19 infection.

TREATMENT

Asymptomatic cases, mild cases of COVID-19

  • Isolate yourself in a well ventilated room.
  • Use a triple layer medical mask, discard mask after 8 hours of use or earlier if they become wet or visibly soiled. In the event of a caregiver entering the room, both caregiver and patient may consider using N 95 mask.
  • Mask should be discarded only after disinfecting it with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite.
  • Take rest and drink a lot of fluids to maintain adequate hydration.
  • Follow respiratory etiquettes at all times.
  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 40 seconds or clean with alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Don’t share personal items with other people in the household.
  • Ensure cleaning of surfaces in the room that are touched often (tabletops, doorknobs, handles, etc.) with 1% hypochlorite solution.
  • Monitor temperature daily.
  • Monitor oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter daily.Connect with the treating physician promptly if any deterioration of symptoms is noticed.
  • Patients must be in communication with a treating physician and promptly report in case of any worsening.
  • Continue the medications for other co-morbid illness after consulting the treating physician.
  • Patients to follow symptomatic management for fever, running nose and cough, as warranted.
  • Patients may perform warm water gargles or take steam inhalation twice a day.

Medical treatment in severe case

If you have :

  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Dip in oxygen saturation (SpO2 < 94% on room air).
  • Persistent pain/pressure in the chest.
  • Mental confusion or inability to arouse

VACCINES

Everyone 18 and older is eligible to get the vaccine against Covid-19. One should get the vaccination done as soon as possible. Different types of vaccines are given below :

Covaxin

Covishield

Sputnik V

Vaccination link

Get yourself vaccinated by registering from the below link