COVID-19 Facts: What It Is, Symptoms, How It Spreads, and Treatment

COVID-19 Facts: What It Is, Symptoms, How It Spreads, and Treatment

The novel coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan Province, China, has caused an unexpected domino effect in our lives. No one would have thought that the coronavirus would cause a pandemic in a matter of months.

Now, nearly every area of the economy has been shut down, and people have to wear protective gear to curb the spread of the coronavirus – pandemic.

After the December 2019 outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified SARS-CoV-2 as the new type of coronavirus.

COVID-19 and Coronavirus, In a Nutshell

Coronavirus is a very common virus and not really new to man. Each year when people get the common cold, chances are the coronavirus caused it. The coronavirus is the second leading cause of the common cold after rhinovirus.

Generally, coronaviruses are not dangerous. However, they have caused two other serious outbreaks before Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the new type of coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. It is a respiratory tract infection that can affect the lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs) or upper respiratory (nose, sinuses, and throat).

COVID-19 and coronavirus are terms that are not supposed to be interchangeably used because they are not synonyms. COVID-19 is the disease, and coronavirus is the cause of the disease.

This distinction is essential since the coronavirus is a family of viruses. SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is one of seven coronavirus types, including the ones that cause SARS and MERS.

The other viruses are the ones that are responsible for causing the yearly common colds.

New studies suggest that there are two strains of SARS-CoV-2: L and S. The L type was more common in the early stages of the pandemic, and the S type is older. However, researchers are still working on what all that means.

How Does the Coronavirus Spread?

The primary mode of transmission is from person to person. The virus, most of the time, is transmitted when an infected person sneezes or coughs. They spread the droplets as far as two meters or six feet away.

If you breathe in the droplets, the virus can get into your body. The person who is infected at times might not show any symptoms (asymptomatic), but they can still spread the virus.

Another way of getting the virus is from touching an object or surface that is contaminated, then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes. Most of the time, the virus can live for several hours on certain surfaces that they land on.

Here’s how long SARS-CoV-2 can last on different surfaces:

  • Stainless steel or plastic: two to three days
  • Cardboard: 24 hours
  • Copper: four hours

This is why disinfecting surfaces is essential. 

When someone gets infected, then health officials cannot really tell where you got the virus, then the term community spread will be used. Community spread is used when the exact source of the virus cannot be ascertained.

Symptoms

The common symptoms associated with COVID-19 are:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea

The virus can also cause respiratory failure, pneumonia, septic shock, and even death. A cytokine storm causes the complications that many COVID-19 patients face. The infection triggers the overproduction of inflammatory proteins known as cytokines.

If you notice that you have any of the following symptoms, call our doctor immediately:

  • New confusion
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Ongoing chest pain and pressure
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Cannot wake up fully

Diagnosis and Test

If you develop the symptoms of COVID-19, contact our doctor. Disclose about your recent travel history in the past 14 days and the people you have come into contact with.

Then if our doctor sees that a test is necessary, you will come in for testing. There are COVID testing kits available in our facility.

There are two primary tests available:

Antibody test. This test shows if you have previously been infected or exposed to coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It also reveals if your body has created antibodies to defend itself. Your body will make enough antibodies at least 12 days before the antibodies can show in the test. The test will help researchers find out how the body fights the virus in recovered patients.

Diagnostic or viral test. This test can show if you currently have the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This is the test our doctor will recommend based on your symptoms and other factors.

Treatment

Currently, there isn’t any specific treatment for COVID-19. If the case is mild, you will need some care to ease the symptoms. You will need rest, fluids, and fever control. You can take medication for sore throats, fever, and body aches.

Antibiotics will not help since it is not a bacterial infection but a viral one. Antibiotics used on patients who have COVID-19 are used to treat another infection that came with the disease.

Vaccines are still being developed.

If you need the COVID-19 antibody test near you, you can contact us at Altus Emergency Center (Baytown), and we will help you out.

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