Coronaviruses are a family of viruses capable of causing human respiratory disease. They are called “corona,” because the surface of the virus is full of corona spikes. Examples of coronaviruses that cause disease in people are severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and the common cold. In Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the new coronavirus strain COVID-19 was first identified. The virus has spread to every continent since then (except Antarctica).
There are varieties of symptoms associated with COVID-19. They’re quite a bit different from a regular cold. The disease seems to start with a fever followed by a dry cough. Around 80% of confirmed cases are mild and can stay home, whereas 20% are more severe and need inpatient care due to the pneumonia and its consequences caused by the virus. What’s interesting is that COVID-19 only rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing or even a sore throat, even though the sore throat seems to be a little more common. These symptoms commonly observed in regular colds have been observed in only about 5% of COVID-19 patients. A paper published by Chen and coworkers in the respected journal, the Lancet describe the clinical course of 99 cases hospitalized for SARS-CoV-2 associated pneumonia. They found that fever and cough, are the most common symptoms of COVID-19 followed by shortness of breath. So the classical symptoms of pneumonia seem to be dominant in these patients. 17% of patients in their study treated for COVID-19 developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, a severe complication of COVID-19 and other pathogens and had to be mechanically ventilated. 3% received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO and 11% died from the disease. These numbers are comparable to those of other publications.
The clinical image can generally be presented in four different ways
- Mild cases – Symptoms are nearly non-existent and the patient has no respiratory problems whatsoever.
- Moderate cases — the patient has both fever and pneumonia radiation. Nearly 80% of all cases are in a moderate and mild population.
- Severe cases – the rate of respiration is over 30 per minute, and the oxygen saturation at rest is below 93%. In more than 2 folds in 1-2 days, pneumonia’s radiological signs worsen. This group accounts for around 14% of all cases.
- Critical cases – ICU ventilation is necessary. The patient develops shock and/or failure of some organs.
It is essential to prevent the spread of the disease in order to isolate and treat cases diagnosed and to isolate people who have contact with the sick. It is suggested that people with diagnosed cases should be isolated. Those who have close contact with the suspect case must be isolated until the suspect case’s test results are available. Isolation is stopped when the test results are negative. Due to the incubation time, the isolation period must be at least 14 days. This allows the use of existing health institutions and the capacity of health workers to fight the pandemic, avoiding an excess of burden and stopping the healthcare system in a country. We must therefore act responsibly and work together as individual members of society to promote this goal.
For all patients or healthy people, it becomes necessary to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose as a method of personal protection. The medical staff engaged in patient treatment would use more specialized masks, glasses, spectators and special gowns. The spreading of saliva drops from the respiratory tract can be avoided by use of masks worn by patients. This is a very effective way to avoid infection in the environment. Viruses will hang up in the air for up to three hours as sick people are sneezing or coughing constantly. These particles then land because of gravity and infect all surfaces. Coughing or sneezing in the face of someone else can also cause him or her to catch the disease through his or her eyes. To avoid this, it can be protective to use glasses. In order to remove the air load of the virus, regular ventilation of indoor environments is important.
It also becomes increasingly important how close we are and how long we can stay near a sick person. Keeping the distance between individuals is expressed as social distance, particularly at interiors of more than 1.5 – 2 meters. The more we stay away from the sick, the less likely we are to get the disease. The use of masks by healthy people can also prevent droplets from reaching our respiratory tract at this stage and the load of the virus can be reduced significantly because of the mask.
In social life, using a mask that essentially closes the mouth and nose is very important. Masks of different fabrics can prevent, especially if used by sick people, the spread of the infection. There is no particular type of mask to pick. In order to prevent the spread of the infection, even washable and reusable masks are used significantly.
Masks, preferably surgical masks or even special masks with advanced filtration are recommended for healthy persons when available indoors. In order to prevent very small viruses, masks that filter particles smaller than 3 microns become more important.
Protection of sick and healthy people, even if they use masks and fulfill criteria for social distance, cannot be taken for granted. The disease can be transmitted to the mouth, nose, or eyes through our hands from infected surfaces. It is therefore important that our hands do not touch our mouth, nose, and eyes. If we have lesions on our hands such as wounds that disturb the integrity of the skin, it may be possible for the virus to enter our bodies through such gates. In such situations, it can be helpful to use gloves to touch surfaces that are not sure of their cleanliness.
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372 E 204th St, The Bronx, NY 10467