Learning about a virus (Coronavirus) from the news and media can be extremely alarming and confusing. When it involves your health, it is important to make sure you fully understand the cause of a virus, the symptoms, how to protect yourself, and a treatment plan for the virus.
It’s very important to know about the coronavirus so that you can learn how to protect both yourself and your family!
Don’t lose yourself in hysteria. Instead, empower yourself with factual information!
What Is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus refers to a family of viruses. The problems you have probably heard about from the coronavirus comes into play when these viruses jump to humans. It is associated with upper-respiratory issues when this leap happens and has symptoms like the common cold.
The coronavirus has made the leap from animals to humans quite a few times but oftentimes does not have fatal effects. However, there have been three major instances of when a coronavirus jumped to humans in the last century that has caused widespread panic and human fatalities.
When the virus makes the jump to humans, the primary issue is how quickly the virus can spread and how the virus progresses, making it a global health concern.
Types of Coronaviruses
The three coronaviruses that have most negatively affected human health in the 21st century are the following:
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)
COVID-19 (Most commonly known as Coronavirus)
SARS was first discovered in 2003. The exact origin of the virus is unknown, although scientists can say confidently that it originated in China.
The number of people that caught this virus hovers around 8,000 people and around 800 deaths. This disease had flu-like symptoms and was spread by close contact between people. The disease found its way into about 26 countries, making it a global issue.
MERS was discovered in 2012 in the Middle Eastern country of Saudi Arabia. The origin of this virus is still unknown, although it is expected to be transferred from camels.
This virus affected between 2,000-2,500 people and had a similar number of patient deaths, around 800 people, as SARS.
COVID-19, also known as the Wuhan virus, is the coronavirus that is at the forefront of people’s minds right now. This coronavirus was first found in Wuhan, China in 2019, and the number of people infected is still on the rise.
Right now, the mortality rate is about 1%. The specific animal origin is still being looked into!
How Did it Start?
COVID-19 is said to have originated from a seafood market in the city of Wuhan. This city has a population of about 11 million, which is one of the reasons the spread of the virus is so serious.
COVID-19 can be found in over 30 different countries and the virus has not yet run its course.
The major outbreaks of this virus have been in Wuhan, Italy, Spain, UK, South Korea, USA, Japan. Now it’s a dangerous worldwide disease! All places where there have been major outbreaks have taken extensive measures to contain the virus and put citizens on lockdown to avoid further spread of COVID-19.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
One of the frightening things about COVID-19 is that the symptoms are common. Some symptoms reported have been things similar to the common cold and the flu. These symptoms include a runny nose, muscle aches, a cough, shortness of breath and diarrhea.
This virus can also show up as viral pneumonia and infect either one or both lungs. Since this is viral pneumonia, it cannot be treated with normal antibiotics. More extreme cases have also caused organ failure and death.
At this stage, the antiviral drugs that doctors have for the flu are not effective against COVID-19. The severity of this virus is very much related to the immune system of the person affected. Doctors are seeing a trend that those that die from COVID-19 were already in poor health.
Because the symptoms of COVID-19 are so common, it can be confusing to people whether or not they should go to the doctor!
This is a tricky situation to be in. On one hand, you will want to receive medical attention if you are sick. On the other hand, COVID-19 is most dangerous to the fact that it can be spread so quickly so you will not want to travel and infect other people.
It is important to note that COVID-19 is spread by human to human contact. Just like the common cold, it is smart to cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze and it’s very important to wash your hands frequently.
It would be best to call your doctor instead of making an appointment right away.
The doctor can prescribe you medical advice and if you need to be seen, doctors will be able to prepare for your visit. It is important to note that if you are sick, CORVID-19 is contagious, so avoid travel as a preventative measure!
If you begin to experience symptoms like coughing, a runny nose, body aches, etc, try your best to track your symptoms.
Keep track of when your symptoms start, the changing severity of the symptoms, your diet, sleep, and more. Keeping track will help your doctor gather enough information to properly diagnose you and prescribe treatment.
If both you and your doctor determine that you will make an appointment, then the doctor will be able to run tests to rule out other common infections.
Treatments for COVID-19
At this time, there is not a prescribed medicine for COVID-19, but there are a few ways to help alleviate your symptoms and get better.
As always, if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 you should speak with your doctor about a treatment plan.
For COVID-19, you can treat this virus-like any other flu. You will need rest, lots of fluids, and possibly an over the counter medication to reduce a fever if you have one.
If you have the virus, you should not travel or go to work. This virus is found to spread extremely quickly and while it is not usually fatal to those with already healthy immune systems, it can be fatal if spread to those at risk like the elderly and sick.
It is also worth mentioning that you should avoid contact with any pets or animals if possible. While there are no confirmed cases of humans spreading the virus to animals, it is still a possibility.
How to Protect Yourself From COVID-19
Now that you know what COVID-19 is, how it is spread, the symptoms and the treatments. How to protect yourself from this virus!
Take Travel Precautions
COVID-19 is spread from human to human contact. Make sure to wash your hands frequently to help protect against any germs, especially if you are in public places. An additional way to protect yourself and others is to wear a facemask when in public places like a mall, airport, doctor’s office, or simply walking around.
As of now, you should also avoid traveling to places where there has been an outbreak. If you are traveling internationally, it is always a good idea to call your country’s embassy to check on any potential health concerns and learn how you can take preventative measures.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times! Wash your hands!
Make sure to wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds frequently. Alternatively, you can also use hand sanitizer to get rid of germs. Make sure the hand sanitizer is between 60-95% alcohol for maximum effectiveness!
Washing your hands before meals, before and after using the restroom, and several times throughout the day is a great way to avoid the spread of germs and viruses.
Scientists are finding that this strain of coronavirus cannot live on surfaces longer than about an hour or so.
Washing your hands frequently, avoiding sharing drinks, avoiding touching your face, are essential to overall health!
Another way to make sure that you are practicing good hygiene habits is to keep your home clean and pest free. Having a home that pests are attracted to means that you are more at risk to get sick and invite unwanted germs into your home.
All of these simple habits can help save lives.
Maintain a Healthy Immune System
Another way to ensure that you are protected from the effects of COVID-19 is to make sure that your immune system is as strong as possible. There are many ways you can go about making sure that your immune system is ready to defend you against a sickness!
Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables are great ways to boost your immune system and maintain overall health.
Remember that coronavirus is the name for a family of viruses, and the current coronavirus that people are concerned about is COVID-19, commonly called the Wuhan virus.
COVID-19 spreads very quickly from human contact, but at this time still has a low mortality rate of 1%. Those with healthy immune systems can rest and recover from this virus, but those with health disadvantages like a weakened immune system, those who are older, or those that continue working through sickness are not as likely to fully recover.