16/03/2020 0 Comments
Lately, you can't seem to turn on the news or scroll through social media without seeing something about the coronavirus. The virus is also alternatively known as COVID-19. But what exactly is the coronavirus, and how worried should you be? Here is what you should know.
Why Is COVID-19 a Concern?
Other coronaviruses have spread over the years. These strains are usually associated with the common cold. The concern with this specific virus is it is genetically different than other known coronaviruses. This means no one has built up immunity to it and can develop symptoms — which may be severe or even fatal in some cases.
One of the issues associated with COVID-19 is that people can carry the virus without knowing it, thereby spreading it to others before they exhibit symptoms. However, airborne respiratory droplets through sneezing and coughing once someone is ill is thought to be the primary transmission method.
Additionally, researchers are unsure how long the virus can live on hard surfaces such as doorknobs. Other coronaviruses can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.
Where Did Covid-19 Come From?
Coronaviruses are common in animals, and rarely, animals can transmit a coronavirus to humans. Scientists believe the new coronavirus appears to have begun at an open food market in Wuhan, China. Researchers suspect bats may have transmitted the virus to another animal, such as a snake or pangolin, but they aren't entirely sure yet if an animal is to blame, however.
Can COVID-19 Be Fatal?
Yes. However, while the data from USA Today estimates the mortality rate at about 2 to 2.5 percent, some medical professionals believe this number may be inflated as mild cases may go unrecognized. Unfortunately, only time will tell the true mortality rate of novel coronavirus.
What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms often resemble the flu. Fever, cough, headache, muscle aches, and breathing difficulties are the most common symptoms. The incubation period for COVID-19 is still unknown but other coronaviruses show an incubation period of anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. Across China, 80 percent of the cases have been mild while the remaining 20 percent of patients experienced severe or critical symptoms.
Breathing difficulties may be pronounced in some people, especially those with respiratory diseases. People with other underlying health problems, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, those of advanced age, and people with weakened immune systems have the highest coronavirus risk. Older men seem to be most at risk. A type of pneumonia is a severe complication associated with this coronavirus.
How Can People Avoid Contracting COVID-19?
The best way to prevent contracting COVID-19 is by avoiding exposure to the virus. Stay away from people who are sick. Do not touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes without first washing your hands, and wash your hands frequently.
The CDC advises people to wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water. You can use regular or antibacterial soap. If soap and water are not immediately available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
What Should You Do if You Get Symptoms?
Anyone who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms should stay home to avoid transmitting the virus to others. Call an urgent care center or your health care provider first before visiting the office to see what their current protocol is for people with symptoms that may or may not be the coronavirus.
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, have reason to believe you have been exposed to the virus, or have any other healthcare concerns, contact us today at MyHealth Urgent Care.