COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that broke out in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It has since spread to other parts of the world. WHO has recently declared COVID-19 outbreak as a Global Pandemic.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 infection are cough, fever and shortness of breath. These may be mild to severe, a small minority of patients may develop complications such as pneumonia.
Although some symptoms of COVID can be similar to those of common cold (fever, sore throat and cough), travel to or transit through regions or areas where there is widespread COVID infection and/or exposure to a confirmed case increase the risk of getting COVID-19 infection.
When people infected with COVID-19 sneeze or cough they release droplets into the air. These droplets contain coronavirus. The infection can thus get transmitted to persons, within a range of 2 metres who inhale these droplets. A person may also get infected with the virus if they touch their face, mouth or nose after coming in contact with surfaces contaminated with these droplets.
Although a vast majority of people infected with COVID-19 make a full recovery, the infection may cause death in approximately 2% of cases. Elderly patients and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cancer, Kidney Disease, Stroke, Lung disease, HIV, Liver Disease, pregnancy,etc. have a greater risk for developing complications and death.
Usually the first symptoms develop within 3-7 days after exposure to the virus. But this can vary up to 14 days in some cases.
Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol based hand sanitizers. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, if you need to, clean your hands first. Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing. Dispose off any tissues coughed or sneezed into. Clean frequently used objects and surfaces regularly. Avoid travel to areas with high number of COVID-19 cases. If feeling unwell, stay at home.
Avoid contact with other people. Isolate yourself within your house. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol based hand sanitizers. Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing. Dispose off any tissues coughed or sneezed into. Clean frequently used objects and surfaces regularly. Avoid travel and public places. Call your GP or health service provider and follow their advice.
It is advisable to wear cloth face covering in public places. If you have symptoms like cough, sneezing it is advisable that you wear a mask to protect others. Healthcare workers and caregivers may need to wear masks.
Currently there is no vaccine against COVID-19.
The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone who has no symptoms is extremely low. However, many people with the infection show mild symptoms and may still transmit the disease.