The first cases of COVID-19 infections were linked to a live animal market in Wuhan, China, suggesting the virus was transmitted through animals sold as exotic foods to humans.COVID-19 is transmitted primarily from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs, sneezes, sings, plays sports or talks. The disease is usually spread by close contact (being within 2 meters of a person for 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period) with a contagious person, but the virus could be transmitted to more long distances or stay in the air longer under certain conditions. In general, the closer and longer the interaction with an infected person, the greater the risk of transmitting the virus. COVID-19 infection can also be spread by touching a surface where the virus is present and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a potentially serious viral infection, which affects the lungs and respiratory tract.
- It is caused by a new type of coronavirus
- The virus is spread very easily from person to person
- COVID-19 is now present all over the world
- Some infected people have no symptoms, but others are very sick, and some die from it.
- Doctors analyze samples taken with a swab from a person’s nose or throat to diagnose COVID-19
- There are no drugs that cure COVID-19, but some of them could help people with serious infections, and doctors are constantly testing new ones
- COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and are beginning to be administered to the population in the United States and around the world
What is a pandemic?
COVID-19 is a pandemic. It is an infection that spreads quickly to many parts of the world at once.
What are the causes of COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus due to which is known as SARS-CoV-2. Doctors call it “new” because it didn’t exist before. He recently switched from a type of coronavirus (modified) that infects bats.
The virus spreads:
- By droplets dispersed in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes sings or speaks
- Touching things that infected people have touched and then touching their face
Unlike many respiratory viruses, the virus that causes COVID-19 can be transmitted before the person has symptoms. A person who does not know they have the virus can pass it without knowing it.
In addition, COVID-19 is spread from person to person much more easily than other respiratory infections, such as colds or the flu.
What is a coronavirus?
There are hundreds of different coronaviruses, all related. Most of them only infect animals.
- Only a few coronaviruses can infect humans
- Some only cause colds
- Three coronaviruses cause very serious illnesses, which can be fatalBesides COVID-19, other serious coronavirus infections are Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). These infections are now only very rarely contracted. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Many people with COVID-19, especially children, have virtually no symptoms.
A person with symptoms most often presents:
- Dry cough
- Difficult breathing
Feeling very weak and tiredOther possible symptoms:
- Runny nose and sore throat
- Loss of smell and taste
- Stomach problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea serious infection penetrate deep into the lungs, causing viral pneumonia. The affected person is very short of breath. A serious infection can also affect many organs, including the brain, heart, and kidneys.
Is COVID-19 fatal?
You can die from COVID-19.Most deaths occur among people over the age of 50. People over 80 are at very high risk. However, even children and young adults can die from it.The risk is also higher with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, or diabetes.
How Do Doctors Diagnose COVID-19?
The most frequent tests consist of:
- Take a sample with a swab in the nose or throat sample is sent it to a laboratory to check for the presence of the virus or other signs of infection. A blood test can look for antibodies that the immune system has produced to defend itself against the virus. It takes a few weeks for the body to make these antibodies. This test is therefore of no use at the onset of the disease. But it can help determine if a person has ever been infected. If the person is short of breath, doctors will usually:
- Perform a chest x-ray to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of pneumonia
- Measure the oxygen level in the blood with a digital sensor
How is COVID-19 treated?
If the infection is mild or moderate, the person will need to:
- Stay at home and do not go out or approach other people (isolation)
- Wear a mask so as not to transmit the virus
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen for fever and pain,if the infection is severe, with breathing problems, the person will need to go to the hospital.
What Doctors Do:
- Administer oxygen
- Sometimes giving redeliver (an antiviral medicine) and/or dexamethasone (an anti-inflammatory)
- Sometimes put the person on a respirator (a machine that facilitates breathing)A respirator may be needed for up to a few weeks. There are no drugs that have been shown to kill the virus, but doctors are trying some that may help. In case of kidney problems, dialysis may be necessary.
How to prevent COVID-19?
People who can transmit the virus may not have any symptoms, so it is impossible to know who has the virus and who does not. It is important :
- To stay 2 meters away from people who do not live in the same household (“social distancing”)
- To wear a mask covering the mouth and nose in the presence of people who do not live in the same household.
These metrics are also useful:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth without washing your hands
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw it in the trash
- Use a household disinfectant spray or wipes to clean objects that you touch a lot, such as doorknobs, telephones, remote controls, and worktopsWhat does it mean to quarantine or self-isolate? In order to help prevent the spread of the virus, some people should avoid other people by quarantining or isolating themselves. If a person is showing symptoms of COVID-19, has had a positive test result for COVID-19, or is a contact case of someone with COVID-19, they should self-isolate or quarantine.
A person is a contact case when they:
- Has been within 2 meters of an infected person (with or without a mask) for at least 15 minutes, including for 2 days before the onset of symptoms in that person
- Provided home care for a person with COVID-19
- Has been in direct physical contact with the sick person (by hugging or kissing them)
- Shared cutlery or a glass/mug
- Was within range of the sick person’s respiratory droplets (for example during a sneeze or cough)The quarantine is intended for contact cases. Contact cases may not know whether or not they have the virus, as it can take up to 14 days to cause illness or show up on a test. The purpose of the quarantine is to keep contact cases away from others for a period of 14 days. If you are a contact case, you will need to quarantine yourself for 14 days, even if:• You have no symptoms
- You have had a negative screening test result; if you had a negative test result within the 14 day period, you will still need to quarantine yourself for the remainder of that 14-day periodIsolation is for people with COVID-19. If you have been a contact case and subsequently developed symptoms or had a positive screening test result, you should self-isolate. The days you have been in quarantine do not count towards the 10-day (minimum) period you must now self-isolate.
You should self-isolate if you:
- Are sick and have symptoms of COVID-19, but have not been tested
- Have had a positive screening test result (whether or not you have symptoms)Isolation can usually end 10 days after your symptoms start, as long as you don’t have a fever and are taking fever-reducing medicine, and your symptoms improve. If you haven’t shown any symptoms, you can stop isolating yourself 10 days after the date of your first positive test. Why do people who might not have the virus have to quarantine themselves for 14 days when people who really have COVID-19 only need to self-isolate for 10 days!
- You can be contagious (you can spread the virus) before you have symptoms or have a positive test result. After exposure to the virus, it can take up to 14 days to cause illness or show up on a screening test (this is called the incubation period). This is why you must self-isolate for 14 days, even if it turns out you did not have the virus. It was impossible to know whether or not you were contagious until the 14 day period had passed.
- If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have a positive test result for COVID-19, the 14-day period no longer applies. No matter how many days you’ve already been in quarantine (0-14 days), once you know you have COVID-19, you begin the 10-day isolation period. Scientists have learned that it is very unlikely that you will be contagious for more than 10 days after the first symptoms appear or have had a positive screening test result (unless you still have a fever). What is contact tracing? Contact tracing is a process used by health authorities to find contact cases of someone with a specific infection, including COVID-19. Contact trustees to let you know that you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, help you get tested, and talk to you about the need to self-isolate or quarantine you. Cooperating with those providing contact tracing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
- Is there a vaccine for COVID-19? COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, and two of them are beginning to be administered to the public in the United States and around the world. These two vaccines are given as a series of 2 injections into a muscle, about 3 to 4 weeks apart, depending on which laboratory makes the vaccine being administered. The vaccine should not be given to people who have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or to any component of the vaccine. Other vaccines are also under study and could be available in 2021.
Some people may have mild side effects after vaccination, including:
- Pain, swelling and redness at the injection site
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- feeling unwell
- Swollen lymph nodesSide effects usually last for several days. Side effects are more common after the second dose than after the first dose. There is a small risk of having a severe allergic reaction. It usually occurs within a few minutes to 1 hour of receiving a dose of the vaccine, and it requires emergency treatment (call an ambulance or go to the nearest hospital). Signs of a severe allergic reaction include
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face and throat
- Fast heartbeat
- Severe rash all over the body
- Dizziness and weakness
Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or even no symptoms, but some become seriously ill and die. Sometimes the loss of smell or taste can be the first symptom. It is not known whether pregnancy increases the risk of contracting COVID-19 and/or having severe symptoms. However, the information available suggests that the risk appears to be the same as for other adults.