CORONAVIRUS

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    coronavirus update

    CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

    No ear has gone unheard of the novel Coronavirus outbreak that has been going around. The year 2020 brought several eventful things along, but the Corona pandemic has undoubtedly been a shock as well as a fright for all. Millions of people have been affected, and thousands have succumbed to this virus and departed on their eternal journey.

    All hail to the viral outbreak, many countries are now on total lockdown. They are trying their level best to control the further spread of COVID-19.

        What actually is this Coronavirus?

    In biological terms, this virus can be explained as a virus that belongs to the Coronaviridae family of viruses. These viruses mainly cause diseases in birds and mammals. The infamous virus outbreak in the early two thousand’s known as “SARS” also belonged to the same family[1].

     Every virus has genetic material, and Coronavirus carries RNA, which has all the information about replication. The virus attaches itself to your receptors when it comes in contact with your cells and enters. As a result, it can enter and hijack all of the machinery as well as your DNA inside your cell very easily. Due to the hijacking, your cells start producing virus cells, and the virus begins spreading very rapidly.

        How does the Novel Coronavirus spread?

    There has been no confirmed research regarding the initial spread of this virus, but the most probable cause is the transmission of this virus from animal ingestion by humans[2].

    This virus can spread through saliva when affected individual coughs or sneezes, and the infected saliva particles enter either your mouth or your nose. Furthermore, you can also catch it from infected surfaces you have touched and then touched your mouth or nose without washing your hands properly[3].

    How is the virus dangerous?

    Coronavirus poses a threat to several people. The main reason is that this virus is difficult to diagnose. The symptoms of this virus include fever, dry cough, headache, sore throat, and dizziness, and these symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of common cold, and this virus can easily be mistaken as one[4].

    Furthermore, this virus is quite dangerous because one infected person can spread it very quickly to 2-3 people. Because of this fact, a spike in the number of infected people is seen, which has shifted from thousands to millions now.

    Incubation period:

    There are many doctors and scientists who still neither know how long this virus takes to spread nor know the exact incubation period for COVID-19 (the time that is taken for the virus to express itself and show symptoms fully).

    It is, however, hypothesized that the incubation period for the transmission of this virus is around 13-15 days after exposure. In some people, it is seen that the symptoms started showing after 4-5 days after being exposed[5].

    This virus has been scaring people because of the realization that seemingly healthy people might actually be affected by this virus without showing symptoms and could easily spread this virus to others.

    Therefore, it is essential to practice social distancing to refrain from getting infected or getting other vulnerable people infected by it.

    Who is the most vulnerable to this virus?

    Following are the people that are at the most risk of contracting COVID-19:

    • People that have a compromised immune system are more likely to suffer from the Coronavirus. Since the immune system is the defense of the body, when it gets disrupted or weak, it cannot fight against infections. A weak immune response leaves the person at a higher threat to face the infection as well as other complications that may arise due to it. A weak immune system can be due to smoking, cancer treatment, or HIV or AIDS.
    • Age also matters a lot when it comes to deciding who is most vulnerable. People who are aged 60 and older are at a high level of vulnerability and can easily catch the virus and suffer from complications[6].
    • This virus is particularly dangerous for people who have any sort of underlying medical condition like asthma, lung disease, or heart conditions.
    • Obese people or people who have a BMI above the normal ranges are also most likely to experience complex symptoms.

    People who are among the above mentioned should take the necessary precautionary measures and stay isolated as much as possible to lower their risk of infection and to also protect others from getting exposed and infected[7].

    What are the symptoms?

    The symptoms of Coronavirus show after 14 days approximately. Therefore, people who have been exposed to the virus or have traveled to an area with a high number of patients need to stay in isolation for fourteen days. If you have the following symptoms, you should inform the authorities and health care professionals at the earliest.

    • Fever is among the most common symptoms of this virus.
    • You may also feel extreme tiredness.
    • A dry cough is also experienced.
    • Aches throughout the body are persistent in many patients.
    • Congestion in the nasal cavity.
    • A runny nose might be there.
    • Continuous sneezing, in some cases, is also observed.
    • A sore, painful throat is also there.
    • There is a loss of sense of smell and taste, too, in some people[8].  

    What to do if someone has symptoms?

    If someone is showing symptoms, they should immediately follow the proper protocols, such as contacting their doctors or nurses.

    Tell your doctors and nurses the exact symptoms that you might be experiencing. If they confirm your symptoms, you should then isolate yourself at your home or at any place where you will not be able to infect others.

    If the symptoms are worse, then you should call the paramedics for a medical emergency so they can take adequate measures and take you out of risk.

    Importance of social distancing:

    Many people are being made aware of practicing social distancing for the greater good. The question that arises here is that why is it so important to socially distance people.

    Social distancing is extremely important to control the spread of Coronavirus. When people are not touching, hugging, shaking hands, and generally being around people, the spread rate will be controlled, and the number of infections will start decreasing. It is high time that people start realizing how necessary it is to socially distance. Social distancing does not only mean avoiding crowds and huge gatherings, but small gatherings and crowds should also be avoided at all costs[9].

    Also, it is very important to remember that if an individual is healthy, it does not mean they cannot get sick. Furthermore, they may recover from the virus, but due to their negligence, they can end up getting someone else ill who might be at a higher risk of developing complications.

    Possible complications:

    Among the several complications that can occur, the most common are stated below:

    • Pneumonia is the most frequently occurring complication in infected people. People of old age who also have medical conditions go to the intensive care unit due to its severity. It is now also known as novel Corona virus-infected pneumonia or NCIP.
    • The other complication that has been seen in people infected with COVID-19 is acute respiratory distress syndrome and irregular heart rate or arrhythmia.
    • Myalgia or severe muscle pain is also experienced by some.
    • In some cases, heart damage and heart attack are also reported.

        How can this virus be treated?

     Unfortunately, this virus has no available cure for COVID-19 yet, and no anti-viral medication is currently being prescribed. However, the National Institute of Health (NIH), USA, is currently working on a vaccine for this novel Coronavirus. Therefore, the healthcare professionals are currently focusing on symptomatic management of the patients.

    According to doctors and health care professionals, the infected individual can only be provided with supportive care which includes:

    • IV fluids for people who are suffering from dehydration.
    • Provision of ventilators for people with breathing issues and chest congestion in extreme conditions
    • Antipyretics for high fever.
    • Pain relievers like ibuprofen.
    • A lot of rest is recommended.

    Also, many medicines in trials are being used, including antivirals (remdesivir), antimalarials (hydroxychloroquine), and immunomodulators. Also, their efficacy and possibility of side effects are still in question, and they are not yet approved anywhere in the world, they are being used on trial/experimental purpose, in the pursuit of finding the actual cure.

          What are the preventive measures?

    In regards to the precautionary measures which can be taken to ensure the safety of healthy people, many health care professionals have been raising awareness and making people feel a whole lot safer than they were before. The proper measures which should be followed and taken under immediate consideration are the following:

    • One should refrain from traveling to any country at the moment under any circumstances, until and unless it’s indispensable.
    • Stay six feet away from people who look possibly infected and are coughing or sneezing.
    • Cough in a tissue or a handkerchief and then throw it away to avoid further spread.
    • Thoroughly clean/wipe your desks, tables, and common areas.
    • Keep an alcoholic sanitizer with you at all times.
    • If affected, avoid touching your face or your nose frequently.
    • Wash hands whenever possible, especially before eating.
    • If sick or diagnosed with the virus, stay at home and avoid getting others infected.
    •  Contact your doctors or your healthcare providers if you have any symptoms and get diagnosed in the initial stages.
    •  Screening protocols should be elevated at airports.
    • Passengers arriving from china should be quarantined and diagnosed at the earliest.
    • Affected people should be isolated from others.

    Taking care of mental health:

    In the time of this crisis that is going around the world, staying in lockdown is undoubtedly not easy for many. Many people are suffering from increased anxiety and depression because of the unnecessary panic spread by different forms of media[10].

    Following are some tips and techniques for taking care of your mental health in a pandemic:

    • First of all, if you are someone who loves to watch the news on your television or scroll on your phone for new Coronavirus updates then, you should try to minimize the influx of negative news and focus on the numbers being recovered. All of the updates about the increasing numbers of infected cases and deaths are going to make you anxious, and you will be forced to go into depression.
    • Try to take care of your physical health as much as you can. Physical fitness is directly related to mental health. Your diet and sleep routine should be proper, which consists of a whole meal and 8 hours of sleep.
    • Exercise is also an important thing to remember while staying indoors. You can watch videos and follow a good workout or yoga routine. If possible, go outdoors for a walk while maintaining a 6-foot distance between other people.
    • It is also essential to be in touch with people you love, such as your friends and family. Stay connected to them through video calls, so you are not washed with the feelings of loneliness.
    • Try to develop productive habits or do what you love to spend your time during this Coronavirus outbreak.
    • If you are still feeling like your mental health is deteriorating, then you should talk about it to a mental health professional or a psychologist.

    The bottom line:

    To conclude, it can be said that this Coronavirus has indeed put a lot of fear and paranoia inside our hearts. Still, the best solution to all of this chaos is to try our best to neither panic nor be anxious but become careful and alert. It can be seen that the anxiety and fear of people are continuously taken advantage of by creating panic and spreading rumors through digital as well as social media.

     People should be made aware not to panic and to look for genuine information from official and credible sources such as health care professionals, doctors, and World Health Organization’s (WHO) or Centre For Disease Control and prevention’s (CDC) official websites. In the end, let’s hope we find a cure for Coronavirus very soon and manage to eradicate it from its roots.

    References:

    [1] Siddell S, Anderson R, Cavanagh D, Fujiwara K, Klenk H, Macnaughton M et al. Coronaviridae. Intervirology. 1983;20(4):181-189.

    [2] Al-Osail A, Al-Wazzah M. The history and epidemiology of Middle East respiratory syndrome corona virus. Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine. 2017;12(1).

    [3] Mizumoto K, Chowell G. Transmission potential of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) onboard the diamond Princess Cruises Ship, 2020. Infectious Disease Modelling. 2020;5:264-270.

    [4] Ren Y, Wang S, Liu M, Guo Y, Dai H. When COVID-19 Encounters Interstitial Lung Disease: Challenges and Management. Chinese journal of tuberculosis and respiratory diseases. 2020;43(0):E039.

    [5] Gao Y, Shi C, Chen Y, Shi P, Liu J, Xiao Y et al. A cluster of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 caused by incubation period transmission in Wuxi, China. Journal of Infection. 2020.

    [6] Zhou F, Yu T, Du R, Fan G, Liu Y, Liu Z et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1054-1062.

    [7] Brooke J, Jackson D. Older people and COVID-19: Isolation, risk and ageism. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 2020.

    [8]  Xydakis M, Dehgani-Mobaraki P, Holbrook E, Geisthoff U, Bauer C, Hautefort C et al. Smell and taste dysfunction in patients with COVID-19. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2020.

    [9] Bayham J, Fenichel E. Impact of school closures for COVID-19 on the US health-care workforce and net mortality: a modelling study. The Lancet Public Health. 2020;.

    [10] Greenberg N, Docherty M, Gnanapragasam S, Wessely S. Managing mental health challenges faced by healthcare workers during covid-19 pandemic. BMJ. 2020.

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