What is Covid 19?
The novel Coronavirus is called Covid-19 virus. It is causing respiratory infection worldwide. Serious cases of covid infection can cause pneumonia.
Covid-19 infection was first reported from China and since then has spread across continents. The rapid spread of the Covid 19 virus resulting in huge number of infections and deaths across the globe. The World Health Organization has declared the infection of Covid-19 as pandemic.
Due to genetic mutations, there are several variants of coronavirus emerged. The most recent Covid-19 variant that has spread worldwide is called Delta variant of coronavirus.
There are many types of Coronavirus that cause infections in animals. A few types of coronavirus can affect humans such as MersCov and SARs caused infections in humans in the past.
Virus is the smallest infectious agent that contains genetic material (genes) and protein. They are only visible from electron microscope.
The covid 19 virus spreads through droplets from the infected person to the healthy person. It takes about 5 - 14 days for a person to develop covid symptoms after exposure to the virus.
Following Covid-19 prevention measures are key to protect us and people around us, especially elderly and children who may have weaker immune system.
Social distancing, wearing face mask and washing or sanitizing hands are all very effectively.
Covid-19 infection is found to cause serious covid symptoms in elderly people (over 60 year’s age) and individuals who have other chronic illnesses or weaker immune system. If not properly treated at early stage, they may develop life-threatening complications and require hospitalization.
Covid 19 Pakistan
According to the Government assessment, Pakistan is currently going through fourth wave of Covid-19 infection. Recently, the number of new covid 19 cases in Pakistan have been increasing in some cities. The reported number of covid cases in Pakistan and even in many other countries are very under reported, especially in countries where covid testing is low in number.
It is very important to follow the SOPs, wear mask, maintain social distance, avoid gatherings & crowded places and take vaccine after consultation with the doctor.
Hospitalization (hospital admission) services are reaching capacity in some cities in Pakistan. It is therefore important to start treatment at early stage of the disease.
Effective vaccines are now available to prevent covid infection or reduced covid complications. Also, newer and some older medicines are now found effective in treating Covid-19 infection.
Important Note: Do not believe and spread misinformation – it can really cause someone’ death if they are misguided due to wrong information and take wrong decision. Be watchful in forwarding any information on social media. Right information is key: Try to get reliable information about covid-19 disease and take actions for your health and others around you.
The new Covid-19 virus causes infection in respiratory system. In complicated cases, patients develop pneumonia which is an infection in the lungs.
Covid symptoms in most cases are mild to moderate. Some people found positive with the Covid-19 virus but they don’t feel any symptoms of covid 19 and recover on their own. Based on reported data about 80% of the infected people recover completely without the need of any specific treatment. It is important to take good care of elderly patients and patients who have other underlying illnesses.
Covid 19 Symptoms may include:
- Fever (light to high)
- Weakness (excessive weakness - more in patients who have other underlying disease)
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Nasal congestion and runny nose
- Loss of taste or smell
- Headache Body ache and joint pain
- Fatigue or tiredness
The new delta strain of Covid-19 virus infection may also cause additional below symptoms:
- Block nose
- Headache, for long-period
- Body pain and tiredness
Covid 19 symptoms that require emergency
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Extreme weakness, difficulty standing up
- Difficulty eating, lack of energy
It is not necessary that patients experience all symptoms of covid 19. Some patients experience a few covid 19 symptoms or some may experience a single symptom like mild fever or cough.
Patients with above covid 19 symptoms and possible exposure to the infected person or travel history to areas from where cases have been reported should contact the designated clinics or hospitals in their cities for treatment and prevent spread to the other persons.
Based on global statistics, Covid-19 can cause severe infection or death in about 2-5 % of cases. This number is much higher in elderly and patients with diabetes, chronic lung disease and heart disease.
Elderly patients and people with other illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and chronic lung disease (asthma, COPD, smokers) when experience any of the above covid 19 symptoms should contact reliable hospitals or clinics who have experience in treating Covid-19 patients as soon as possible.
It is caused by different strains or types of Coronavirus called Covid-19.
This virus is very contagious – transmit infection from infected person to the healthy person very effectively. The virus spreads through the respiratory droplets from the infected person when sneezes or coughs inhaled by a healthy person in close contact. It may also spread from droplets of infected person landed on the surfaces when touched by healthy person and subsequently touching the mouth, nose or eyes.
Many new strains of coronavirus have been emerged due to genetic mutations. The newest strain called Delta strain is causing most infections worldwide.
Family members or people who are taking care of Covid-19 patients or have been exposed to the patients should isolate themselves in a separate room, use face masks, wash hands regularly and keep 6 feet distance at all times with others. Caregivers should go nasal swab-based PCR testing if experience symptoms of covid 19 or at the end of the exposure with the patient before returning to normal routines.
People who have recent travel history to countries from where coronavirus cases have been reported should also isolate them in a separate room for at least one week.
There are a few types of laboratory tests available to make a confirm diagnosis of Coronavirus infection. Some tests detect the virus RNA and some antibodies produced in the body as a response to infection. Until now, Reverse transcriptase – Polymerase Chain reaction (RT-PCR) is found to be most accurate.
Usually people who have Covid 19 symptoms in these times, family members of the infected persons, people who are exposed to infected person (co-worker, travel in the same vehicle) and recent travel history from areas where cases have been reported are tested for the presence of corona virus RNA fragment. There is nasal swab tests usually performed to detect the presence of virus RNA using RT-PCR.
Many diagnostics laboratories in different cities in Pakistan are offering to take sample from home. Confirmed Covid 19 patients are advised to stay in isolation either in the hospital or home, whichever is necessary to prevent transmission of virus to the other people. Patients in home isolation are required to stay at home for 7-14 days, preferably in one room and use separate bathroom. If not possible, use mask and ask the other family members to use mask as well and keep 6 feet physical distance at all times. Wash hands with soap regularly, use sanitizers and disinfect bathroom thoroughly after every use.
People who are exposed to infected person are required to stay indoors in self quarantine for 7-14 days. Request for laboratory testing if experience covid symptoms or at the end of the exposure. If don’t develop any Covid-19 symptoms, they can carry on to normal routine.
In the infected person, chest X-ray or other diagnostic tests are also needed to determine the disease progression in the lungs or other body organs.
Based on the available information, younger and healthier individuals infected with Covid-19 usually do not require any specific treatment. However, younger patients who experience high fever and breathing difficulty should contact reliable hospitals as soon as possible.
However, elderly patients (over 60 years) and patients with other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and chronic lung disease should be properly treated at early stage to avoid complications. If not properly treated at early stage, elderly and chronic patients may develop life-threatening complications and require hospitalization.
Covid 19 Pakistan situation has been fluctuating and the number of new covid 19 cases in Pakistan are on increasing trend in some cities. Hospitalization (hospital admission) services are reaching capacity in some cities in Pakistan. It is therefore important to start treatment at early stage of the disease. Patients who contact reliable hospitals/ clinics at early stage of Covid-19 infection can avoid hospital admission and serious complications of the disease.
Most Covid-19 patients start to feel better in a few weeks’ times with some supportive treatment. Generally in many mild to moderate viral infections, supportive symptomatic treatment for example regular fever controlling medication along with some antiviral drugs and pain medications (analgesics) are prescribed to relieve the pain. Multiple drugs are used to treat the complications of covid-19 infection that may include antivirals, corticosteroids and antibiotics.
Many effective Covid vaccines are available in Pakistan and worldwide.
Some newer and older medicines are also found effective in treating Covid-19 infection.
Covid-19 PreventionPrevention is key to protect us and people around us, especially elderly and children who may have weaker immune system. Taking appropriate precautionary steps will help to prevent infection and its spread. Covid-19 prevention is possible by taking covid vaccine after consulting with the doctor. There are multiple types of Covid vaccines available worldwide and in Pakistan. So far Covid-19 vaccines are found effective in preventing covid infection or reducing chances of developing serious covid 19 symptoms. Mainly, there are four main types of covid-19 vaccines. (Read more: Covid 19 Vaccine types) Covid-19 prevention is also possible by following
- Wear a mask, cover your nose and mouth
- Avoid gatherings, crowded areas and maintain social distancing
- Do not touch your face, mouth and eyes
- Use wipes or tissue paper when sneeze or cough
- Wash hands with soap a few times a day and use sanitizer where available
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Contact doctor if don’t feel well