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Coronavirus: How Alarming Is It?

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Coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China.  It is part of a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. This new virus was temporarily named “2019-nCoV.”

Photo Credit: aa.com.tr

Coronavirus or NCOV started late December 2019 in Wuhan, China.  It is believed to have originated in Wuhan’s seafood market.  What’s sold in their market is believed to be what started the virus; they sell bats, snakes, dogs, and other exotic animals for food consumption.

What makes the virus scary is the lack of reported information from abroad.  And if you are someone who likes to travel, the risk for travelers is great.

The number of infected people rose very quickly.  Currently, Wuhan province is on lockdown. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global emergency.  On March 12, 2020, they declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

At this time, there are over 118,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths with virus impacts on every continent except for Antarctica.

Some articles claim that it has a low mortality rate and that only immunocompromised people will be susceptible to it.  However…  a lot is still unknown.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a virus that can infect animals and they could pass it into each other, then pass it onto humans if mutations in the virus occur. In this case, mutations obviously did occur.

Last December 2019, Chinese health authorities reported several cases of viral pneumonia to (WHO) and almost all of the patients with the same symptoms had contact with Wuhan’s seafood market.

How does it spread?

Coronavirus spreads from person to person through droplets. For example, if an infected person coughs or sneezes and any of the body fluid went into your eyes, your mouth or your hands, you can get it.  Plus, most people touch surfaces and then touch their faces a lot during the day without realizing it. This is how the virus can easily enter your body.

Do take note that there are infected people who are asymptomatic.  This means that there may be no symptoms of the virus in the person but they are still infected.  Even with no symptoms, infected people can still infect other people.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Colds and Cough
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bronchitis
  • Severe pneumonia
Photo Credit: Medium.com

How do you keep yourself protected?

Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds up to your elbow.  The virus can live in your hands for 5 minutes but in this window, you can touch your mouth, face or rub your eyes.

Boost your immunity.  You can take vitamins and herbal supplements to boost your immune system.

Avoid crowded places.  Well, let’s be real.  This is unavoidable, especially if you have to go to work or school.  If you really can’t avoid going to crowded places, you can bring 70% alcohol with you at all times to wipe yourself and surfaces.

How do you treat it?

There are several organizations worldwide trying to develop a vaccine, but how long would it take to develop a vaccine?

Currently, there are no approved antivirals. Some patients recover while some don’t.

People infected with the virus should receive supportive care to relieve symptoms. For severe cases, aggressive care in an intensive care unit (ICU) to support vital organ functions can be lifesaving.

Summary

We’ve established the fact that the virus spreads quickly due to international travel however WE SHOULD NOT PANIC.  Yes, it is a serious pathogen but worrying won’t be very helpful.

Follow all the preventive measures stated above and stay away from people who are sick or who have traveled recently.

Always be up to date with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) announcements and key information.

Disclaimer:  This article is not medical advice or a substitute for medical treatment.  Anyone suspected of being sick should see a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Article updated March 11, 2020

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