Coronavirus Infection (Covid-19)

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Coronavirus Infection (Covid-19)

The novel Coronavirus is called Covid-19 virus.

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. There are viruses that cause infections in only animals and other living creatures. Many viruses cause infections in humans such as polio virus, measles virus and dengue virus. Viruses utilize living cells to grow inside them. They survive for short time outside a living cell. Viruses are so small that they cannot be seen from light microscope. They are only visible from electron microscope.

Covid-19 infection was first reported from China and since then has spread across continents and in many countries.

Information is growing on everyday basis regarding how this virus cause infection, transmission to other person, infectivity and mortality rate. Experts are researching about the disease and the source of infection.

Most evidence suggests transmission of virus through droplets from the infected person to the healthy person. It takes about 5 - 14 days for a person to develop symptoms of Covid-19 infection after exposure to the virus.

Prevention is key to protect us and people around us.

Social distancing, wearing face mask and washing or sanitizing hands are all very effective measures.

Check below links: What is Social Distancing? Wearing face masks Reduce the spread

Some medications are found effective in treating Covid-19 infection. Consult reliable doctor/ hospitals for available treatment options.

Covid-19 infection is found to cause serious symptoms in elderly people (over 60 year’s age) and individuals who have other chronic illnesses (diabetes, blood pressure, chronic lung disease, kidney disease and heart disease) or weaker immune system. If not properly treated at early stage, they may develop life-threatening complications and require hospitalization.

Hospitalization (hospital admission) services are reaching capacity in most 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.

Update: Newer and some older medicines are now found effective in treating Covid-19 infection. So do not wait until symptoms get worse, especially elderly people and patients with other illnesses (diabetes, blood pressure, chronic lung disease, kidney disease and heart disease).

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 the 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.

Symptoms in most cases are mild to moderate. Some people found positive with the Covid-19 virus but they don’t feel any symptoms 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.

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
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue or tiredness

It is not necessary that patients experience all symptoms. Some patients experience a few symptoms or some may experience a single symptom like mild fever or cough.

Patients with above 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 symptoms should contact reliable hospitals or clinics who have experience in treating Covid-19 patients as soon as possible.

It is caused by a strain or type 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.

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 for laboratory testing if experience symptoms 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 10-14 days.

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 symptoms in these times, family members of the infected persons, people who are exposed to infected person (coworker, 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 mouth and 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. Those patients in which presence of virus is confirmed through lab examination are advised to live 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 10-14 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 10-14 days. Request for laboratory testing if experience symptoms or at the end of the exposure. If don’t develop any 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.

Due to the emerging new information on regular basis for this new coronavirus infection, scientist and researchers are actively working to develop effective treatment options.

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.

Hospitalization (hospital admission) services are reaching capacity in most 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.

Update: Newer and some older medicines are now found effective in treating Covid-19 infection. So do not wait until symptoms get worse, especially elderly and patients with other illnesses (diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, bronchitis, COPD and heart disease). Patients who contact reliable hospitals/ clinics at early stage of Covid-19 infection can avoid hospital admission and serious complications of the disease.

There is no vaccine available to protect from Covid-19 at this point.

Prevention 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.

  • Break the cycle of transmission
  • Maximum people should stay home as much as possible for the next few weeks and minimize contact and limit exposure
  • Social distancing – that means keeping physical distance of 2 meters or 6 feet among each other when outside to avoid or slow down virus transmission.
  • Physical barrier – by wearing masks to cover the nasal passage and mouth – Nose and mouth is the source of virus coming from the infected person and cause infection in the healthy person when enter through nose and mouth.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap or use hand sanitizers
  • Don’t visit crowded areas, be extra careful in using crowded public transport/ buses and trains
  • Contact doctor if don’t feel good
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