The entire mankind is fighting against the COVID-19 corona virus infection which according to WHO has reached a pandemic level. From the end of December 2019, the CoViD-19 virus epidemic started from the Wuhan town of China from a fish market and by 2020 the virus has reached India, Kerala and right to our door steps.
The preventive steps taken by WHO, the world governments, the central government, the state government ,the health ministry as well as the health department have given great confidence and strength in our fight against COViD 19. As a member of society we should be knowing and practising certain things as mentioned below which will protect ourselves as well as our family and community against the dangerous COViD19 corona virus infection.
What is COVID-19 corona virus infection?
CoViD19 corona virus is a zoonotic virus infection, which means that the virus has spread from an animal to humans, but the scientific community is still unsure from which animal the infection spilled over to humans; hence this virus is otherwise known as Corona Virus InDeterminate(COVID)
How does COVID 19 coronavirus spread among humans?
Whenever a COVID-19-infected patient coughs or sneezes the small droplets that is formed spreads to the air which travel up to a distance of 3 feet and can infect another individual. These droplets can remain over surfaces for up to 5 to 8 hours in which the virus remains active to cause infection to those who come in contact with these surfaces.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 corona virus infection?
Fever, cough and breathlessness are the common symptoms of COVID-19 corona virus infection but in the beginning stages, it is very difficult to differentiate COVID 19 infection symptoms from other ordinary respiratory infections. Breathlessness is the most dangerous symptom. COVID-19 virus affects the lungs predominantly and seriously.
When does COVID-19 corona Virus Infection turn fatal?
When the respiratory infection progresses to the stage of ARDS (Acute Respiratory distress syndrome) then the C)VID-19 corona virus infection turns fatal.
Who all should be cautious of CoVID 19 corona virus infection?
The elderly, especially those with diabetes, lung diseases and cancer, those with poor general health, infants, persons living with HIV, persons on immunosuppressive drugs after organ transplants, pregnant females and those working in the health care service sector should take COVID-19 corona virus infection seriously.
Who are commonly affected with COVID-19 corona virus infection in India ?
In India, persons who were detected to have COVID 19 virus infection had either travelled to high risk countries like China, Singapore, Malaysia, Iran, Dubai, Qatar ,Italy and other European countries or were closely exposed to such persons or were involved in either treating or taking care of COVID_19-infected patients.
Can COVID-19 corona virus infection cause death?
Yes , but only in a small percentage (2-3%) of those who were infected with CoVID 19 corona virus died.
What are the steps that we can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 corona virus infection?
Personal hygiene and environmental hygiene are the two major weapons we have against the spread of COVID-19 corona virus infection. When you are coughing or sneezing, use a handkerchief or tissue paper to cover your mouth and nose. After coughing or sneezing, use hand sanitizer or soap water to clean your hands. Avoid touching your face with hands frequently. Surface of things used by COVID-19-infected patients should be cleaned with soap solution or alcohol-based antiseptic solutions. Clothes and bed sheets used by COVID-19 patients should be destroyed or sterilised. It is better to avoid crowded places like theatres, malls, beaches, circuses and festivals. It is also better to avoid shared use of cigarettes, hookhas and inhalers during this time.
What to do if you suspect that you have COVID-19 corona virus infection?
If you have fever, cough and breathlessness and you had visited a high risk country recently or if you were involved in care of/closely mingled with a COVID-19 virus infected patient, then you should suspect that you would be having COVID-19 corona virus infection. Contact health authorities as early as possible; in Kerala it is the District General Hospital or the Medical College in your district. Strictly follow the self-quarantine advice given by the health authority. If the health authority instructs you to be in isolation wards, then you should remain under observation for at least 28 days. You should share the details of those who would have come into close contact with you to the health authority for further tracing and quarantine activities. Avoid travelling and mingling with people if you have returned from a high risk COVID-affected country.
Are medicines or vaccination available against CoVID 19 infection ?
At present there is no definitive medication or vaccination against COVID19 corona virus infection. Scientists are working hard to develop a medicine and vaccine against COVID-19 corona virus infection.
(The author is Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Meitra Hospital, Kozhikode)