With the news of more and more reported cases of coronavirus appearing around the world every day, it is natural to be anxious and nervous.
However, there is also a considerable amount of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 leading to rumours and sensationalism.
Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus
What is coronavirus?
Technically, coronavirus is a catch-all phrase for a number of viruses that cause illness in humans and animals. Outbreaks like SARS and MERS were caused by coronaviruses. The current coronavirus epidemic is one such virus and the disease caused by it is COVID-19.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
How does coronavirus (COVID-19) spread?
COVID-19 spreads through droplets that an infected person exhales when they cough or sneeze. If a healthy person comes into contact with these droplets – remember that droplets could land on staircase railings, door knobs, tables, towels, etc – and then touches their eyes, mouth or nose, they could catch the virus.
If an infected person sneezes close to you, you may inhale the droplets. If you’re in a public place, you may touch a surface where the droplets have landed. Touching your face or eating with unwashed hands could expose you to the risk of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
COVID-19 does not spread through air, unless you are breathing in air with contaminated droplets exhaled by an infected person.
How long will droplets be infectious when they land on a surface?
Nobody knows for sure, but studies are suggesting that droplets could continue to be infectious anywhere between a few hours to a few days.
Can I get COVID-19 (Coronavirus) from my pet?
There is no evidence that this disease can be passed on from animals that live in your home. However, as a practice, you should wash your hands after playing with or touching your pets.
Can I catch coronavirus (COVID-19) from someone who doesn’t look ill?
Milder cases of COVID-19 may not have any symptoms, and the person carrying the coronavirus may not appear or feel ill. If you come into contact with contaminated droplets from them, you may be at risk of developing COVID-19.
Can I take medicine or antibiotics to prevent contracting coronavirus?
At the moment, there are no known medicines that can protect you from catching coronavirus. Home remedies, herbal medicines, alternative medicines have not been reported as effective.
How dangerous is it?
As of 12 March 2020, latest reports have put the number of cases of COVID-19 at 126,369 and the number of related deaths at 4,634.
The current outbreak of COVID-19 is still ongoing, and the numbers might change. However, according to the WHO, it is rare that COVID-19 can be fatal. It is more dangerous for older people or those with pre-existing medical problems like high blood pressure or diabetes.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are similar to those of a regular cough or flu.
- Dry cough, sore throat
- Feeling tired
- Body ache
- Nasal congestion, runny nose
With a mild infection, you might not feel unwell for a few days. Only 1 in 6 people develop a serious case and may find it difficult to breathe.
People with diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure should get immediate medical attention if they develop any of the above symptoms as they are more vulnerable to developing serious complications.
How can I avoid contracting coronavirus?
Because coronavirus (COVID-19) is passed on through droplets that are on surfaces, you should make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or rub during the day, especially if you have been out in public places.
Avoid touching your face, mouth, and eyes during the day.
If you see someone coughing or sneezing, stay at least 3 feet away from them. That is how far the droplets may travel.
Cover your nose and mouth if you are coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands afterwards.
Avoid large crowds of people or public gatherings: movie theatres, plays, sports games, assemblies, airports, train/metro stations, etc all have a higher risk associated with them.
What should I do if I think I have coronavirus?
If you are feeling ill or experiencing any of the symptoms above, stay away from office and school. Seek immediate medical attention.
I’m feeling very anxious about coronavirus. What should I do?
With the news of an infectious disease like this growing in numbers, it is normal for you to feel fear, concern for loved ones, and worry about the state of the world. However, at times like this, it is imperative that you stay grounded and calm.
Here are some measures you can take to quell your anxiety:
Put your apprehensions to good use: Do your research (on authoritative sites) so you can understand the nature of the disease, and how to prevent it from spreading. Then get involved in community awareness drives, make posters, arrange aid and donations for charities working in afflicted areas, and volunteer with local authorities to help educate people about the virus.
Make efforts to stay calm and centred: Being anxious and jittery will not do any good to anyone. Practice a calming activity like yoga or meditation to help you stay positive and focused.
Keep yourself fit: This is a good time to evaluate your lifestyle and health. People who exercise regularly are better equipped to handle stress and are less vulnerable to infections. You might want to consider talking to a nutritionist about making healthy food choices to boost your immunity.
Talk to a professional: If your anxiety about illness or coronavirus is getting in the way of your daily life, you should talk to a therapist. A professional counsellor will be able to help you work on your fears.
Now that you’ve read this, we hope you’re feeling better prepared and less anxious. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us here at Avaana.
All information in this post has been sourced from the World Health Organization.