Coronavirus – Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis

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The recent outbreak of Coronavirus (now called COVID-19) in China has created a panic in the entire world. With its source unknown and no possible vaccine in sight, Coronavirus does not seem to slow down with positive cases mounting up to 425,323 including 18,944 deaths (As of March 25th) around the world. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illness and affect the respiratory tract and takes 2-14 days after exposure for the symptoms to develop which include fever, cold, shortness of breath, and cough.

Although patient zero and the source of the virus is still unknown, COVID-19 had links to an animal and seafood market in Wuhan, China. This fact suggested that animals initially transmitted the virus to humans. However, people with a more recent diagnosis had no connections with or exposure to the market, confirming that humans can pass the virus to each other.

  • Symptoms:

COVID-19 symptoms vary from person-to-person and may produce no symptoms in some people but that doesn’t mean that they are not carrying the virus. The symptoms can range from mild to range and can develop over 2 to 14 day period. Symptoms may include:

  • -Fever
    -Breathlessness
    -Cough
    -Loss of taste or smell
    -Tiredness
    -Aches
    -Runny nose
    -Sore throat

From the initial reports, doctors have found out that people with weak immune systems develop more serious symptoms. These groups include young children, people over the age of 65, pregnant women, and people with existing medical issues.

  • Transmission:

The COVID-19 virus can spread when a healthy person comes in contact with an infected person and bodily fluids are exchanged, such as the droplets in the cough and mucus. The virus can spread through the following ways:

  • -If you come in contact with a surface that has the virus and touch your face with the same hand.
    -If you touch or shake hands with an infected person.
    -If an infected person coughs or sneezes around you and the droplets enter your system.

The severity of Coronavirus infection can range from mild to severe depending on the immunity of the person. People with existing chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, may be at higher risk of serious illness.

  • Diagnosis:

Doctors determine whether to conduct tests for COVID-19 based on the potential patient’s signs and symptoms. To decide whether to perform tests for COVID-19, doctors may also consider whether you have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or travelled to or lived in any areas with ongoing community spread of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

To test whether a person carries the infectious coronavirus, the doctor may take samples of saliva (sputum), a nasal swab, and a throat swab to send to a lab for testing. If you develop any of the symptoms of COVID-19 mentioned above, contact your doctor and be completely transparent about the information such as if you’ve travelled to any areas with ongoing community spread of COVID-19 according to CDC and WHO.

  • Prevention:

Although there are no vaccines developed to prevent the infection of COVID-19, you can take the following steps suggested by the World Health Organization:

  • -Avoid socializing
    -Adopt social distancing
    -Avoid close contact with people who have the symptoms
    -Avoid travelling to or staying in communities where COVID-19 is spreading
    -Wash your hand with soap for at least 20 seconds
    -Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    -Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you sneeze
    -Clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch on a daily basis.

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