Public health experts around the globe are scrambling to understand, track, and contain a new virus that appeared in China. Looking at severity of virus outbreak WHO has declared it as pandemic. Virus jumps between people who are in close contact with each other. It also probably spreads when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Coughs and sneezes produce little droplets of mucus and saliva. Virus can linger on surfaces such as plastic, stainless steel for few days.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19. If an illness is not very severe but it’s highly transmissible, it can still be devastating.
An easily transmitted illness that kills a small percentage of people it infects can still cause lot of deaths, precisely because so many people get sick. There is 96.2% resemblance of genomic sequence of COVID-19 with bat (Rhinolophusaffinis) coronavirus. The dissimilarity of 4.6% is because of gene named” S" gene which is highly variable and has great power to mutate and recombine making it more lethal. The WHO named illness caused by coronavirus COVID-19 “co" and “Vi" for coronavirus, “d" for disease, and “19” for the year when disease emerged. The symptoms of COVID-19 have ranged from mild, like those in cold, to severe.
Around 80% of cases that we know about are mild about 5% cases are critical.So far, 2 or 3 percent of people who get sick with COVID-19 die, though it’s too early to say for sure. Also those numbers may change as the outbreak progresses. Different groups of people, though, are more at risk of having severe case of illness or of dying from it. Most deaths in this outbreak have been in older people and those underlying health issues like heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. What can you do for yourself and others, you should:
Look after yourself at home as with other viruses such as colds and flu, taking it easy and looking after yourself are crucial to your recovery.
Drink plenty of fluids, food facilities should be vigilant in their hygiene practices, including proper hand washing and routine cleaning of all surfaces. Wash your hands often, especially before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; and going to the bathroom. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water, if hands are visibly dirty.
Get plenty of rest, you should isolate yourself at home if you have any symptoms of coronavirus and avoid any strenuous activity whilst you’re unwell. One of the best ways to slow the spread is to stay home and avoid social gatherings, so that if fewer people get sick at once, it’s easier for healthcare providers to give everyone a good care.
Use over the counter medicines to treat some of your symptoms. Cough medicines or cough suppressants can help reduce your cough. Throat lozenges and remedies like honey and lemon may improve a sore throat. Unnecessary travel should be avoided.
Anyone planning a trip should always follow local and national guidance on whether it is advisable to travel. Those traveling should check the advisory for their destination for any restrictions on entry, quarantine requirements on entry, or other relevant travel advice. Follow the same personal protection measures during travel as you would at home.
With coronavirus continuing to spread we can improve our overall health by making few modifications as:
Eat a healthy and nutritious diet, consume immunity boosting foods like spinach, garlic, broccoli and citrus fruits which helps your immune system to work properly. Don’t smoke as smoking damages your lungs and can increase risk of developing severe disease. World health organization has recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults and one hour a day for children. Don’t feel stressed and scared, talk to people you know, check in on neighbors, family and friends.
Compassion is a medicine and if you are feeling stressed anyway taking ad-renal support supplements can be helpful. Sleep whenever you feel tired. It’s understandable if you’re feeling worried about the coronavirus. But fear and stigma make a difficult situation worse.
For example, there are reports emerging from around the world of individuals, particularly of Asian descent, being subject to verbal or even physical abuse. Public health emergencies are stressful times for everyone affected. It’s important to stay informed and to be kind and supportive to each other. Words matter, and using language that perpetuates existing stereotypes can drive people away from getting tested and taking the actions they need to protect themselves and their communities. Here are some do’s and don’ts for how to talk about the coronavirus with your children, family and friends:
Do: talk about the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Don’t: attach locations or ethnicity to the disease. Remember, viruses can’t target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds.
Do: talk about “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID-19”, “people who are recovering from COVID-19” or “people who died after contracting COVID-19”
Don’t: refer to people with the disease as “COVID-19 cases” or “victims”
Do: talk about people “acquiring” or “contracting” COVID-19
Don’t: talk about people “transmitting COVID-19” “infecting others” or “spreading the virus” as it implies intentional transmission and assigns blame.
Do: speak accurately about the risk from COVID-19, based on scientific data and latest official health advice
Don’t: repeat or share unconfirmed rumors, and avoid using hyperbolic language designed to generate fear like “plague”, “apocalypse” etc.
Do: talk positively and emphasize the importance of effective prevention measures, including following our tips on hand washing. For most people this is a disease they can overcome. There are simple steps we can all take to keep ourselves, our loved ones and the most vulnerable safe.
WHO has launched a dedicated messaging service in Arabic, English, French and Spanish with partners WhatsApp and Facebook to keep people safe from Coronavirus. This easy-to-use messaging service has the potential to reach 2 billion people and enables WHO to get information directly into the hands of the people that need it.
From government leaders to health workers and family and friends, this messaging service provides the latest news and information on coronavirus including details on symptoms and how people can protect themselves and others. It also provides the latest situation reports and numbers in real-time to help government decision-makers protect the health of their populations.
Author is research scholar(medicinal plants) faculty of forestry,SKUAST-K