The WHO (World Health Organization) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic at a global level as new cases continue to emerge. To date over 127,000 cases have been registered resulting in nearly 5,000 deaths. While the threat is far from over, you as an individual can implement basic measures to protect yourself and your loved ones. Nation-wide healthcare authorities are imploring people not to panic but to understand what is this new coronavirus? How does it spread? What can you do to prevent it? Here, we have compiled a concise guide to answer all these questions. By knowing what you are dealing with and what is happening in your area, you are in a better position to deal with the problem at hand. So, read on and take notes on how you can protect yourself from COVID-19.
What is the New Coronavirus - COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, Coronaviruses are a set of virus strains that can affect both humans as well as animals. In other words, they are zoonotic. In fact, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) are known forms of this family of viruses. SARS is said to have spread to humans from civet cats and MERS from dromedary camels. Since these virus strains were new during their outbreak, most people did not have immunity towards them. Both of these viruses mutated from infecting animals to infecting humans. This is true of the latest coronavirus as well.
COVID-19 is the most recently discovered form of coronavirus that has spread globally in the last few months. As an infectious coronavirus disease, COVID-19 was unknown to mankind before its outbreak in December 2019. Its epicenter was the Wuhan district in China, and to this day, it remains the most severely impacted geographical area with this pandemic. The virus spreads from one person to another and has infected people in over 50 countries.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Like most other viral infections, the prominent symptoms of COVID-19 include dry cough, fever, runny nose, and tiredness. In some cases, the patient may also feel pains and aches or diarrhea.
COVID-19’s symptoms are not alarming, to begin with. It is possible that affected people may not show any evert symptoms initially. However, in older people, the infection can lead to breathing difficulties and shortness of breath. In extreme cases, the patient can suffer from pneumonia, kidney failure, acute respiratory syndrome, and even death.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
Like any other infectious virus, COVID-19 spreads when you come in contact with an infected person. This contact can be in the form of droplets when the infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales. Even if these infected particles land on surfaces around you, you can contract the virus by touching them and then touching your nose, eyes or mouth. You can also be infected by inhaling these droplets. However, this does not mean that COVID-19 can be transmitted through the air. It is still considered as a person-to-person transmission of the virus.
How to Prevent Contracting and Spreading the Virus?
According to WHO, nearly 80% of the affected patients can recover from this disease without requiring hospitalization or special treatment. However, prevention is the best cure for such fast-spreading viral infections.
The first step in this process is not to panic but to be aware of your surroundings. Learn how your neighborhood is impacted due to COVID-19. Stay abreast of the latest developments in the outbreak and contact your local or national public health authorities for any information. Most countries have put strong measures in place to slow down and stop the outbreak of COVID-19.
Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:
Wash your hands frequently
Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly can keep your hands free from infection. You can use simple soap and water or even an alcohol bases rub to ensure that they are completely clean. By killing the viruses that you may have contracted on your hands, you can prevent the spread of this disease to your near and dear ones.
Maintain social distancing
While social distancing may not seem polite, it is the need of the hour. Try and maintain 3 feet (1 meter) of distance from anyone who is sneezing or coughing. This will prevent you from inhaling any liquid sprays or droplets from the infected person. Also, keeping this distance will ensure that you don’t breathe in the infected particles.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
It is very easy to pick up viruses with your hands and then transfer them to your body via nose, eyes, and mouth. While it is important to wash your hands and keep them clean, it is equally important to prevent the spread by avoiding contact with your nose, eyes or mouth.
Practice respiratory hygiene
Make it a habit to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Or try to sneeze in your elbow if you don’t have a tissue at hand. Also, don’t reuse the tissue. The tissue can become a carrier, therefore, dispose it of properly. It is very important to make sure that you and those around you implement healthy respiratory hygiene. This cannot just reduce the spread of COVID-19, but also protect you from other viral and bacterial infections like cold and flu.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Make sure you stay home if you are feeling unwell. This holds true even if members in your household show symptoms of COVID-19. While you may not be a confirmed case of this coronavirus, it is important to follow the guidelines laid out by your local and national health authorities.
Your local health authorities are the best sources of the latest information on the spread and prevention of COVID-19. They are aware of the situation in your area and can guide you accordingly. Plus, they can direct you to the best possible healthcare facility in your area. According to the World Health Organization, this can protect you as well as prevent the spread of such infections and viruses.
Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider
Lastly, follow advice of a reliable healthcare provider. Stay aware of the latest developments on COVID-19 in your area and the rest of the world. If you are working, then follow the guidelines set by your employer to prevent the spread of the virus in your office environment.
If you feel that you may have been exposed to the virus and have even mild symptoms, then it is a good idea to impose self-quarantine. There is no need to rush to hospitals and medical facilities if you don’t have severe symptoms. Staying at home for 14 days will not just protect you from further infection, it will also help prevent the spread of the virus.
Call in Advance
If you develop acute symptoms like fever and difficulty in breathing, then you may require clinical attention. Call your local healthcare provider in advance. This can help them prepare for your visit so that there is the least possible exposure to their staff and other patients.
Where to get a face mask if you need one?
There is no direct way of knowing if someone is infected or not until they show prominent symptoms. Therefore, if your job or personal circumstances require you to interact with other people on a regular basis then you must take necessary precautions to protect yourself. Covering your mouth can help you stay safe from infection and help you prevent the spread in case you have symptoms of COVID-19. A reliable and well-fitting face mask can help you here.
Companies like iPlemo offer hospital-grade face masks that offer a 3-layer of protection. Apart from this, this 3-layer face mask is manufactured using strict quality control procedures and protects you from ingesting bacteria and harmful particles. The face masks are lightweight allowing you to complete your daily tasks without any issues. Their pleat-style allows coverage from your nose to your chin making them one of the best products for preventing viral infections. These well-fitted and secured masks are disposable for hygiene purposes. The iPlemo team also offers fast and free shipping for anyone who may be in need of these hospital-grade face masks.
By declaring COVID-19 as a pandemic, the WHO is calling for urgent and aggressive action by nations to curb the spread of this coronavirus. Older people and those with chronic underlying medical conditions are likely to develop serious complications when infected with COVID-19. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for preventing this strain of coronavirus in humans. Therefore, the best way to protect yourself and those around you is by following the above-mentioned steps. Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that you feel might be dirty or infected. Avoid travel and crowds unless absolutely necessary to protect yourself from any possible exposure to this virus. Lastly, if you or anyone in your household shows symptoms, minimize contact with the outside world for 14 days. Consult your local healthcare authorities and visit a medical facility if the symptoms become severe.