Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses. In this article, you’ll find information about how they manifest themselves and are transmitted. We’ll also provide tips for how to avoid getting infected and debunk common myths surrounding the virus.
At the end of December 2019, a new strain of coronavirus appeared in China. 90% of the infections were identified in China, primarily in one province. However, cases of the virus have been confirmed in over 80 countries and territories across the world.
Typical symptoms of coronavirus infection include high temperature, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. If you have any of these symptoms, don’t panic. See a medical specialist and come up with a plan of action if you have been in any countries or territories that have had cases of the coronavirus or might have come into contact with someone who was infected. If this is the case, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the virus, but it is always good to make sure.
In severe cases, a COVID-19 infection can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome (obstructive pulmonary disease), kidney failure or death.
How is the coronavirus transmitted?
Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through close contact with an infected individual, usually one who is coughing or sneezing. Scientists are continuing to research how long the virus can survive outside the human body. However, it does not survive for very long, which means that items such as letters or packages do not pose a threat.
How do I avoid contracting the coronavirus?
The World Health Organization has collected a number of prophylactic recommendations that will help lower the risk of infection from a whole list of diseases, including the new coronavirus.
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based antiseptic hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth with a napkin or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. After this, throw out the napkin and wash your hands.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands, as this is where the virus can enter your body.
- Stay away from people who are coughing, have a high temperature or have other symptoms of respiratory illness.
- Avoid direct contact with wild animals and livestock.
- Make sure meat and eggs are cooked well.
- If you have a high temperature, cough or trouble breathing, seek medical help immediately.
Myths about the coronavirus
When new infections appear, including viral, misleading information regarding symptoms, transmission and treatment often begin to circulate. The World Health Organization has debunked popular myths about the new coronavirus.
- Mail from China does not pose a threat. The new coronavirus cannot be transmitted via letters or packages.
- There is no evidence that pets, such as cats or dogs, can be transmitters of the new coronavirus.
- Pneumonia vaccines do not protect against the new coronavirus. A special vaccine is needed, which scientists are currently working on creating.
- There is no evidence that garlic, sesame oil, mouthwash, or saline nose spray help fight against the virus.
- The new coronavirus cannot be treated with antibiotics. They may be prescribed if the virus led to a bacterial infection and the antibiotics would only be effective against that.
- There is currently no known cure or prophylactic treatment. Scientists are currently working on developing them. Nonetheless, every patient should see a doctor. Medical help could ease symptoms and help prevent further development of the disease.