The current global outbreak of coronavirus – officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – has been declared a pandemic.
If you are feeling unwell and concerned that you may be displaying signs of the virus, these are the symptoms and precautions you need to know.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explaining they usually cause “mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses”, like the common cold.
This particular strain originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, the largest city in central China, and is in the same family as SARS and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).
The first suspected cases of the virus were reported at the end of last year on 31 December 2019 in Wuhan, but it has since been confirmed in other parts of China.
Most people get infected with these viruses at some point during their lives, although they usually only last for a short period of time.
Symptoms of the virus may include:
– runny nose
– sore throat
– a general feeling of being unwell
Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, or more severe diseases such as SARS. However, this is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants and older adults.
How does it spread?
Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person to others through the following means:
– the air by coughing and sneezing
– close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
– touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
– fecal contamination, although this is rare
How to stay safe
There are currently no vaccines to protect against coronavirus infection, but there are ways to help reduce your risk of contracting it.
The CDC advise:
– washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
– avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
– avoid close contact with people who are sick
If you are experiencing cold-like symptoms, you can help reduce the risk of spreading it by staying at home while you are ill, and avoiding close contact with others.
You should cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw this away before washing your hands. It is also recommended to clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
Coronavirus: the facts
What is coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.
What caused coronavirus?
The outbreak started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 and it is thought that the virus, like others of its kind, has come from animals.
How is it spread?
As this is such a new illness, experts still aren’t sure how it is spread. But similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. Therefore covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and disposing of used tissues straight away is advised. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.
What are the symptoms?
The NHS states that the symptoms are: a dry cough, high temperature and shortness of breath – but these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. Look out for flu-like symptoms, such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose and a sore throat. It’s important to remember that some people may become infected but won’t develop any symptoms or feel unwell.
What precautions can be taken?
Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly. The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.
Should I avoid public places?
Most people who feel well can continue to go to work, school and public places and should only stay at home and self isolate if advised by a medical professional or the coronavirus service.
Source : https://www.scotsman.com/health/symptoms-coronavirus-these-are-warning-signs-covid-19-continuous-cough-high-temperature-2456180