In today’s world, we are seeing an unprecedented number of lives claimed by a mysterious and potentially deadly virus, known as the coronavirus. But what is this virus, and where did it come from? In an effort to better prepare ourselves and those around us, it is crucial that we inform ourselves about the illness that has nationally and globally affected the lives of so many.
What Is COVID-19?
The coronavirus is a disease that originated in 2019, hence the name COVID-19, and was first discovered in Wuhan, China, after a vast outbreak affected a multitude of people. It is believed to have come from animal sources in the region, but is now being exchanged between human beings. Since then, the coronavirus has spread all over the globe, as countries desperately seek ways to control the spread, while simultaneously doing all they can to assist those affected.
Who Does It Affect?
It is important to note that anyone of any age, race or gender can contract the coronavirus disease. Despite common belief, there isn’t anyone who is immune.
Nevertheless, there are certain groups that may be at a greater risk than others. These include the elderly, those who have ongoing health issues and people who live in or around regions that are experiencing serious and concentrated outbreaks. Furthermore, those who live or work in close relation to those affected by COVID-19, including doctors, nurses or family members, should use extreme caution as they could easily become infected.
How Is It Contracted?
Though research is ongoing, the coronavirus is purported as being spread from one person to another through droplets originating from something as simple as a single cough or sneeze.
The mandate to remain “six-feet apart” comes from the fact that the virus seems to spread through these droplets, even at distances within 6 feet.
Moreover, the coronavirus may also be contracted from touching hard surfaces and other materials. In general, however, it isn’t known whether or not contact with affected surfaces is a major way through which the coronavirus spreads. Nevertheless, it is recommended that individuals keep their hands away from their eyes, nose, ears and mouth, particularly if their hands are unwashed.
How Is It Treated?
Though there are many processes in the works, there isn’t yet a vaccine for COVID-19. In addition, there isn’t currently any treatment for COVID-19. Individuals who think they may have contracted the illness are encouraged to get tested.
Common COVID-19 Symptoms
There are many symptoms that can accompany the contraction of COVID-19, but by and large, the main symptoms seem to be the following:
- Shortness of Breath
Those who experience the more severe manifestations of the coronavirus may also combat organ failure, pneumonia and may even lose their lives.
In general, those exposed to the virus may see the above symptoms within as little as two days or up to two weeks. Additional symptoms to watch for include muscle aches, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, sore throat, loss of taste or smell and more.
According to the CDC, or Center for Disease Control, there are even more symptoms that signal an emergency situation related to COVID-19. These symptoms include:
- Blue Lips
- Blue Face
- Inability to Wake Up
- Inability to Stay Awake
- Pain in the Chest
- Trouble Breathing
- Pressure in the Chest
Can COVID-19 Be Prevented?
As COVID-19 continues to be researched, there are ways that you can protect yourself.
First and foremost, unaffected individuals should seek to stay away from those who are, or who seem to be, affected.
Along with that, individuals should seek to wash their hands often throughout the day, using soap and water, or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. The best way to keep these germs at bay, however, is to wash with traditional soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
To better ensure the safety of others, everyone should practice social distancing, wear a mask when in public and avoid large gatherings.
Stop the Spread
All in all, to avoid contracting the coronavirus, you will need to be vigilant about protecting yourself, your family and others.
If you think you are sick, or have been around someone who is sick, stay inside until you feel better, or seek medical help and testing. If you have traveled to countries that have been seriously affected, especially if you are exhibiting symptoms, seek medical attention, right away.
By working together, we can boost the efforts of our local communities and nation to put a stop to the spread of this potentially life-threatening disease, known as the coronavirus. For more information, contact your local health practitioner.