Corona Virus

Basic Information: A corona virus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most corona viruses are not dangerous; some types of corona viruses are serious, though. Often a corona virus causes upper respiratory infection symptoms like a stuffy nose, cough, and sore throat. You can treat them with rest and over-the-counter medication. The corona virus can also cause middle ear infections in children. Most corona viruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do: through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person’s hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.

The next essential question is: What is a Corona virus? Corona viruses were first identified in the 1960s, but we don’t know where they come from. They get their name from their crown-like shape. Sometimes, but not often, a corona virus can infect both animals and humans.

Interestingly, almost everyone gets a corona virus infection at least once in their life, most likely as a young child. In the United States, corona viruses are more common in the fall and winter, but anyone can come down with a corona virus infection at any time.

Brief History: About 858 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In April 2014, the first American was hospitalized for MERS in Indiana and another case was reported in Florida. Both had just returned from Saudi Arabia. In May 2015, there was an outbreak of MERS in Korea, which was the largest outbreak outside of the Arabian Peninsula. In 2003, 774 people died from a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. As of 2015, there were no further reports of cases of SARS.  But In early 2020, following a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new type, 2019 novel corona virus (2019-nCoV).

How 2019-nCoV spreads? Much is unknown about how 2019-nCoV, a new corona virus, spreads. Current knowledge is largely based on what is known about similar corona viruses. Corona viruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely though, animal corona viruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS, SARS, and now with 2019-nCoV.

Most often, spread from person-to-person happens among close contacts (about 6 feet). Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s currently unclear if a person can get 2019-nCoV by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). With 2019-nCoV, however, there have been reports

external icoof spread from an infected patient with no symptoms to a close contact. It’s important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing. This information will further inform the risk assessment. 

Common Symptoms of Corona virus: The symptoms of most corona viruses are similar to any other upper respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever. In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a corona virus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus. You could get lab tests, including nose and throat cultures and blood work, to find out whether your cold was caused by a corona virus, but there’s no reason to. The test results wouldn’t change how you treat your symptoms, which typically go away in a few days. But if a corona virus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with heart disease, or people with weakened immune systems.

What to do about Corona virus? There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, recommendations for everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses include:

1.      Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

2.      If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

3.      Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

4.      Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

5.      Stay home when you are sick.

6.      Cover your cough or sneeze with a napkin/ handkerchief or at least a tissue.

7.      Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

You should treat a corona virus infection the same way you treat a cold:

1.      Get plenty of rest.

2.      Drink fluids.

3.      Take over the counter medicine for a sore throat and fever. But don’t give aspirin to children blow 19; use ibuprofen or acetaminophen instead.

A humidifier or steamy shower can also help ease a sore and scratchy throat. Even when a corona virus causes MERS or SARS in other countries, the kind of corona virus infection common in the U.S. isn’t a serious threat for an otherwise healthy adult. If you get sick, treat your symptoms and contact a doctor if they get worse or don’t go away.

Remember: Treatment is good, but getting panicked is not.

Md. Hasanuzzaman,

Executive Editor. MS in Sociology, Jagannath University


Reference: WebMD Medical

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