BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE TO UNDERSTANDING CORONAVIRUS
There are different types of coronaviruses, some are non-transmissible like the ones found in dogs, some have mild symptoms in humans (catarrh, cough) which goes away after 2-3 days with no treatment and others very deadly like the recent strain discovered SARS-CoV-2 rigging havoc in the world. It has caused a worldwide pandemic of respiratory illness, called COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease and its symptoms include cough, fever or chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, diarrhoea, headache, new fatigue, nausea or vomiting and congestion or runny nose.
Difference between coronavirus as an infection and a disease
Coronavirus can be both an infection and a bacteria, here is how. Viruses cause familiar infectious diseases such as the common cold, flu and warts. These can be cured by antibiotics, meaning they are diseases. Coronaviruses can cause severe illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, SARS and COVID-19. These viruses require vaccine that is specifically made to prevent that virus strain. If you get a virus, you need an antiviral drug to treat them, not an antibiotic. Consequently they are infections. Viruses are like hijackers. They invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. Viruses almost always lead to diseases (at a much higher rate than bacteria). To prevent a virus, you need to get a vaccination. Unfortunately a vaccine for COVID-19 is still to be created. Other similar pandemics
In 2003, the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) started in China and spread to other countries before ending in 2004. The virus that causes COVID-19 is similar to the one that caused the 2003 SARS outbreak: both are types of coronaviruses. Much is still unknown, but COVID-19 seems to spread faster than the 2003 SARS and causes more severe illness.
❖ Coronaviruses are common in different animals. Rarely, an animal suffering from coronavirus can infect humans.
❖ There are many different kinds of coronaviruses. Some of them can cause colds or other mild respiratory (nose, throat, lung) illnesses.
❖ Other coronaviruses can cause more serious diseases, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
❖ Coronaviruses are named for their appearance: Under the microscope, the viruses look like they are covered with pointed structures that surround them like a corona, or crown.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, thus it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette. The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
❖ Maintain at least 1 metre distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
❖ Avoid touching your face.
❖ Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
❖ Stay home if you feel unwell.
❖ Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
❖ Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.
Is wearing of face mask necessary?
It is necessary to wear a face mask but not necessary to wear it every single time. Wear masks in public settings when around people not living in your household and particularly where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Masks helps you from getting infected and those who are already infected helps them not to spread the virus.
The masks recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Any mask can be used to prevent the spread and contamination.
Does hydroxychloroquine treat COVID-19?
Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, a treatment for malaria, lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis, has been under study as a possible treatment for COVID-19. According to WHO this drug does not reduce deaths among hospitalised COVID-19 patients, nor help people with moderate disease. This is contrary to the finding of a clinical physician, Dr. Stella Emanuel who worked in Houtson Texas claims to have treated several patients with the drug.
The use of hydoxychloroquine and chloroquine is accepted for patients with malaria and autoimmune diseases. Irrespective of what we use the drug for its side effects are severe and it’s even banned in some countries.
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