We all know how Coronavirus has affected people in China and other countries. The outbreak of the virus has led to global concern. The meat and seafood market in Wuhan, China has been held responsible for the outbreak of this disease. From there, the ailment has spread to other countries as well. As per reports, 70 international locations have been impacted by the COVID-19 virus (1). There are death reports from many such countries too.
People globally are panic-stricken and are doing their best to avoid this disease. But for that, one has to understand in detail about coronavirus and how it affects the human system. In this article, we will discuss in detail about coronavirus, its symptoms and the diagnosis and treatment of the same. People are being asked to wear masks and use sanitizers to keep the virus away. OxyBreath Pro Mask has become a popular choice with people as it offers great protection.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses belong to a family of viruses, which actually lead to various kinds of illness, the most common kinds being common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) (2). The outbreak that happened in China was by a new kind of coronavirus, which was not identified previously.
Currently, the virus is known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease which is caused by this virus is known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
If the history of coronavirus is traced, it is found that the first coronavirus was isolated in the year 1937. This virus was responsible for causing an infectious bronchitis virus in avian species. Innumerable poultry stocks were devastated by the effect of this virus. The first evidence of human coronavirus (HCoV) was found in the 1960s by scientists. The virus was found in the noses of people who were suffering from a common cold. Major proportions of the common cold are caused by two human coronaviruses namely OC43 and 229E.
Now let us talk about the origin of the name coronavirus. The name ‘coronavirus’ is derived from crown-like projections, which are there on the surface of the virus. In Latin, the meaning of corona is ‘crown’ or ‘halo’.
When it comes to humans, the infections from coronavirus mostly occur during the months of winter and during the spring season. The most common symptom is catching a cold due to coronavirus and the same thing might get repeated after a period of 4 months. The reason is that the coronavirus antibodies don’t last long. Another disturbing thing is that antibodies for one strain of coronavirus might not be effective against some other strain of coronavirus. Finding antibodies for different strains is a truly challenging job. For the current outbreak, no antibody or vaccine has been found for that particular strain of coronavirus.
Different types of coronaviruses
Coronavirus belongs to the family Coronaviridae and subfamily Coronavirinae. There are different kinds of human coronaviruses. Depending on the strain of the viruses is the severity of the disease. The strain also decides how far the disease can spread. Currently, as per medical professionals, there are seven types of coronaviruses that can affect humans. Some of the most common varieties include:
- NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
- 229E (alpha coronavirus)
- HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
- OC43 (beta coronavirus)
There are some rare strains of coronavirus as well, which lead to severe complications including MERS-CoV, which leads to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and SARS-CoV. This is the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The latest strain of coronavirus, which caused the disaster in China is known as SARS-CoV-2 and it caused COVID-19.
How coronavirus is transmitted from one person to another?
Not much information is available as to how HCoV is transmitted from one person to the other. Though research is being done, complete information is not available on the same. However, researchers and medical professionals opine that the coronaviruses spread via fluids which are there in the respiratory system, like saliva or mucus.
Mentioned below are some of the most common ways in which coronaviruses are transmitted from one person to another:
- Shaking hands with a person or touching a person who is infected with the virus and does not follow hygienic rules can lead to the passing of viruses between individuals.
- Sneezing and coughing are common in people suffering from the impact of coronavirus. If a person is affected by this virus and coughs and sneezes without covering the mouth, droplets disperse in the air and this might affect another person.
- You might come in contact with an object or a surface that has the virus on it and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. This is the most common way in which this virus is passed.
- Contact with feces is also a way in which some strains of coronaviruses spread. However, these are mainly animal coronaviruses. Whether they are applicable for humans as well is still unknown.
There are some groups of people who are at high risk for developing complications from COVID-19. They are as follows:
- Elderly people who are 65 years or more
- Young children
- Pregnant women
- People who have compromised immunity
The reason why coronaviruses are so contagious is that they can mutate effectively.
Symptoms of coronavirus attack
The symptoms of coronavirus attacks are almost similar to that of common cold or flu. The symptoms start setting in from 2-4 days after the infection from coronavirus takes place. Interestingly, the symptoms of the ailment are generally quite mild. However, it has been seen that the symptoms differ from one person to another. Infact some strains of the coronavirus are fatal. This has been seen in the case of China lately.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with coronavirus include the following:
- Runny nose
- Sneezing incessantly
- Sore throat
- Fever in rare cases
- Extreme fatigue
- Exacerbated asthma
Human coronaviruses cannot be cultivated in the laboratory like many other kinds of viruses. As a result, an antibody against this virus is very difficult to make, making it really difficult to combat the tough situation that the whole world is in presently.
Diagnosis of coronavirus infection
If you have the same symptoms mentioned above and suspect that you have COVID-19, it is recommended to get in touch with your family doctor at the earliest. Initially call the doctor and tell him your symptoms and problems. In many cases, the doctor might come to visit you instead of calling you to his chamber. On prior calling, the doctor and his team will be ready and be able to guide you properly on the next steps that need to be taken. For the diagnosis, the doctor will first do a general physical checkup and then might run some tests and investigations to run out some other kinds of infections. If the doctor suspects COVID-19 too, he might ask you to remain isolated and confined so that the spread of infection is prevented and restricted as much as possible.
Treatment of coronavirus infection
To date, no treatment or vaccine of COVID-19 has been found or invented. Generally, the symptoms of coronavirus leave on their own after a certain span of time. As a patient, if you feel that the symptoms are worse than that of the common cold, it is best to get in touch with your doctor immediately. Fever and pain medication is often prescribed by the doctor in such cases.
Get rest in plenty and most importantly, drink lots of fluids when you have a cold or flu. If you feel you have problems with breathing, you must seek medical assistance immediately. When you are not well, try avoiding contact with others. If COVID-19 is confirmed, make sure that you wear a mask so that the virus is not spread to others in any manner.
Steps for preventing coronavirus infections
- Try avoiding meeting people in large groups. Stay at home if you are sick and avoid meeting people.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue while coughing or cough into your elbow or upper sleeves. Refrain from coughing into the hands by covering the mouth.
- Dispose of the tissue carefully after using post coughing.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds before eating, after visiting the bathroom, after coughing, sneezing and even blowing your nose.
- Use sanitizer, alcohol-based if water and soap are not available.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes consciously.
With little care and cautiousness, the problem of coronavirus infection can be combated successfully.