Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 this year, there has been several information and questions regarding the virus. Some of the information circulating the world are fake and thus have led so many people to be confused. In this article, we will be providing you with every accurate information about the virus. If you wish to find out more, you can visit your doctor at Medical Express Clinic London. Meanwhile, we shall begin by finding out about the virus.
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus does not just refer to one virus;instead, it refers to a family of viruses that is responsible for illnesses like the common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Coronavirus has been around since 2002; however, there was a new outbreak of the virus in an area of China called Wuhan, in 2019.
The new virus that erupted in China in 2019 has specifically been called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2),and the disease it causes has been called coronavirusdisease 2019 (COVID-19).
Coronavirus is not just restricted to humans alone. Animals can get infected too, and there have been cases where a virus affects an animal and becomes a different virus when it affects a human. There have been illnesses caused by the coronavirus; however, the three most common illnesses include the following
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS): this is a respiratory illness that can turn fatal if care is not taken. It was discovered in China in the year 2002. Ever since then, there haven't been any newly recorded cases of this virus
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS): this is another severe respiratory illness that was first reported in the middle east region of Saudi Arabia in the year 2012. It finally spread to about 27 other countries form there before it fizzled out. Of all the cases of this virus, its source has been traced to the Arabian peninsula.
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): originating in Wuhan China in 2019, this disease has spread to every part of the world with several cases being reported. All update and sensitive information regarding this disease are being handled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Symptoms associated with the coronavirus
You only begin to experience the symptoms when you have been in close contact with someone who has been affected or you travel to an area where there is an outbreak of the virus. There are symptoms associated with the general coronavirus, and there are symptoms specific to COVID-19.
The symptoms associated with the general coronavirus include the following
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
The symptoms that are specific to COVID-19 are
- Shortness of breath
Asymptomatic transmission and its risks
Asymptomatic transmission is a situation whereby disease is transmitted from an infected person to one who is not infected without the affected showing any symptoms of the disease. The only way by which the COVID-19 can be reduced,controlled and prevented is through testing and social distancing. Asymptomatic transmission has, however, made this quite difficult. Because the asymptomatic person who is already affected does not show symptoms, it is easier to transmit and infect others because no one knows that they are actually infected. Reports have shown that about 80% of infected people are either asymptomatic or only show mild symptoms.
Because of this, you must treat yourself as if everyone is infected and stay indoors to reduce all possible chances of getting infected. Sanitise everyday objects and surfaces that can pose a risk to you and reduce contact with people and public environments. You may be infected and be asymptomatic, but that does not mean the next person will be if they get infected through you. People who have a weak immune system or are advanced in age are more likely to have a fatal case if they get infected.
Patient screening and triage
People who have a fever with respiratory signs with an epidemiological link to the COVID-19 should be suspicious of the disease. This epidemiological link can be as a result of any of the following
- Close contact with someone who has been confirmed to be infected or who is at high risk
- Recent travel to an area that has experienced an outbreak
- Close contact with an individual who has been to an area that has experienced an outbreak
In this case, the clinicians would have to update themselves on lists of affected countries and territories. When such cases arise, they can tell if the patient has been in a high-risk area or not, and know the appropriate screening and infection control method to follow.
Getting tested for coronavirus
If you are experiencing symptoms that are associated with the coronavirus, you should contact your health care provider. There are specific laboratories that have been set up and authorised by the CDC for testing of coronavirus. Your health care provider will direct you to anyone closest to you for testing.
You can get tested for coronavirus through different means that include
- Sputum test: there is a thick mucus that gets accumulated in the lungs when you have a cough. This is called sputum, and during the test, you will be required to cough it up in a special cup, or a sample of it will be taken from your nose.
- Nasal aspirate: in this test type, a saline solution will be injected into your nose, and using a light suction, a sample of it will be taken.
- Blood test: this test typically involves taking a sample of your blood from a vein in your arm
- Swab test: this test typically involves using a special swab to take a sample from your nose or throat
- Tracheal aspirate: this involves the use of a thin tube with a torch known as a bronchoscope to collect samples from the lungs by inserting it into the mouth to reach the lungs.
Rapid diagnostic test by antigen detection
Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) has been introduced for the COVID-19 outbreak. Like what it'scalled, it is a quick test and involves taking samples from the nose, throat, and lungs. A sample for this test checks for the presence of viral proteins or antigens relating to the COVID-19 virus. The use of this method as a mode of testing has been approved by the CDC and ensures accurate and speedy diagnosis.
Rapid diagnostic test by host antibody detection
This is another type of rapid test that tests for the presence of antibodies in the blood of an individual infected with COVID-19. The strength of the antibody response is dependent on factors like how severe the infection is, the age of the patient, and the medication they are on. Before the test, you might be asked to wear a mask or carry out any other procedure that will protect them and you from possible infection.
Risks associated with coronavirus testing
Depending on the type of testing you go through, some risks are associated with each of them.
You may feel a gagging sensation in the swab test when the swab is inserted into your nose or throat. The nasal aspirate may feel uncomfortable, and there may be slight bleedingor infection in the tracheal aspirate. You may experience slight pain or swelling in the needle entry point in case of a blood test. Fortunately, all these feelings of discomfort are temporary and will disappear in a short time.
What happens when my test results come back?
If you have a positive result, it means you have the virus or have been infected by it. As of this moment, there is no specific treatment for the COVID-19; however, Healthcare experts will suggest to you steps that will help you relieve the symptoms. Below are steps that will help you relieve the symptoms
- Taking over-the-counter medication
- Getting plenty of rest
- Drinking a lot of fluids
If there is no improvement in your symptoms or become worse or even develop Pneumonia, you should immediately be admitted into a healthcare facility. You know you have Pneumonia when you experience the following symptoms
- High fever
- Difficult breathing
- Severe cough
Follow the steps outlined below of you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the infection:
- Wash your hands thoroughly all the time or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if there is no water or soap available
- Always remain indoors unless you are going to get medical help
- Avoid sharing personal items like dishes,drinking water cups, etc., with anyone
- Always wear a mask whenever you go out in public or when you are around people
If you have a negative result, consult your health care provider if there are any other tests you need to run. If there are none, stay safe and avoid being infected by following the steps below:
- Stay away from people who show signs of respiratory problems like sneezing, wheezing, and coughing
- Avoid touching your face or parts of your face like your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol always.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces around your house frequently
- Use face masks in public and practice social distancing
When to seek medical help
For mild symptoms, there might be no need to visit the hospital or laboratory for help. If you experience symptoms that are associated with COVID-19, seek medical health immediately. If you have recently been to a high-risk area and think you might be infected, seek help from your health care provider by immediately contacting them.
Do you wish to get tested for coronavirus or you want to find out more information about the COVID-19 outbreak, visit your doctor at Medical Express Clinic.