WHO (World Health Organisation) has declared the new strain of coronavirus as pandemic signaling that the virus will spread to all over the world.
Till now, the novel coronavirus is said to be an epidemic in many of the Indian states like Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Considering the situations, it is necessary to keep ourselves well informed and updated about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
What is a virus?
Virus is a microscopic organism which can infect various living organisms including even bacteria. Viruses behave as living organisms only when they infect a host body. Outside the host body, viruses can’t grow, respond or multiply. It can reproduce only in the living hosts. When a virus infects a host body, thousands of copies of the original virus are produced at extraordinary rate. Hence, viral infection spreads very rapidly.
What is coronavirus?
In December 2019, outbreak of the disease started in Wuhan, China caused by a new species of virus called novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Coronaviruses are the group of virus families first identified in 1960. The coronaviruses cause respiratory diseases like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). They belong to the family of zoonotic viruses that means animals are the source of these viruses. The novel coronavirus to blame for the recent outbreak is called SARS-CoV-2.
What are the COVID-19 symptoms?
The person who contracts SARS-CoV-2 starts showing the symptoms between 2 to 14 days after infection.
The COVID-19 is characterized by the symptoms like,
- Dry cough
- Mild to high fever
- Breathing difficulties
The severity of the symptoms varies from person to person and as the infection spreads in the body. For most of the people, symptoms start as mild and then get worsened over a period.
How does the coronavirus transmit?
The coronavirus epidemic has shown that the virus transmits very quickly through various modes.
The coronavirus transmission occurs by various means like,
- close personal contact such as handshake or any kind of physical touch
- the air carrying respiratory droplets released from the infected person while sneezing or coughing
- touching the virus contaminated objects( the latest studies show that Covid19 virus can stay on certain surfaces like plastic for as long as 3 days.)
Do pregnant women need to worry about Coronavirus?
According to the experts, pregnant women are just as likely or little more likely (due to many changes occurring in the body during pregnancy) than the general public to develop the symptoms if contracted with the coronavirus.
Based on the previous studies related to the other coronavirus infection such as SARS, the pregnant women may have increased risks of some complications like preterm birth, but it should be noted that the infection may not be the direct cause for the complicacy.
Can Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) pass through breast milk?
As of now there are no reports suggesting the presence of the virus in breast milk. But as the virus is spread person to person through respiratory droplets, the feeding mother needs to take utmost care of personal hygiene.
If the mother is infected, she should consider wearing a COVID-19 mask as a preventive measure and wash hands well before feeding. Alternatively she can express/pump milk and bottle feed the child with the help of another healthy person to avoid direct physical contact with the child. Utmost care should be taken even while pumping milk to not spread infection. Breast pump and equipments
How are kids affected by Covid 19?
According to the available reports from various sources, healthcare professionals say that children for some unknown reasons have an advantage over adults when it comes to COVID-19. The number of kids getting sick are less and also they show mild symptoms compared to adults.
Apart from the typical Coronavirus symptoms like fever, runny nose, and cough,some kids have shown Vomiting and diarrhea also as symptoms.
Are Children required to always wear masks?
Making kids wear masks is not an easy thing.If your child is healthy and is not going near sick patients or entering crowded places, there is no need for them to wear a facemask. Practice personal hygiene and make sure they wash hands regularly and nails are also cut properly.
Also remind kids to not touch their face with hands and teach them proper etiquette while coughing or sneezing.
How to keep the kids away from panicking?
As the government declared emergency closure of schools, malls and theatres as a precautionary measure, the kids have many speculations about coronavirus. Parents should convey the necessary information and resolve their queries regarding the infection so that they do not panic. Parents should guide the children to maintain hygiene and follow the precautionary measures.
Don’t create a depressed negative environment at home. This is the apt time for you to teach your kids to stay calm and act wisely during crises.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare of India has released an informative comic on coronavirus for spreading awareness among kids. The link is given below:
Precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19
To make the efforts of the government fruitful, there is a need to follow the guidelines provided by medical practitioners and the health department like,
- Avoid close contact with the person who is sneezing or coughing.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have cough, cold or fever.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve bending your elbow while sneezing or coughing.
- Avoid touching nose, eyes and mouth.
– Stay at home if you have a high temperature and a cough.
- Wear the mask as per doctor’s advice if you have the infection.
- Avoid social gathering especially indoors.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with alcohol based soap or sanitizer.
- Sanitize the frequently touched objects in your household.
- Cook the meat/eggs properly before eating.
- Practice hygiene in your routine.
- Avoid using public transport
What can one expect if positive and isolated with COVID19?
If the person is identified as SARS-CoV-2 positive, the person has to be isolated. Apart from the isolated patient, the people who come in contact with the patient are kept in quarantine.
Isolation or quarantine is precautionary steps rightfully taken by the health authorities in order to prevent further spread of the virus. Isolation can be seen as a treatment procedure happening in a closed protected environment. This is to minimise further spread of the virus.
The other citizens or say, healthy people should appreciate the patients’ who get isolated instead of looking down at them as the carriers of the virus.
Travelling during COVID19?
If you are pregnant it is not advised to travel during this pandemic spread. But if its unavoidable please stick to the safety measures.
The travel advisory by different countries including India gets changed on a daily basis depending upon the day to day situation on coronavirus spread. Please visit the IATA site and please stick to the guidelines given.
Campaigns launched by different governments to fight the COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2 infection was first detected in Kerala in India in January 2019. Recently, in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 infection, the Kerala state government has launched a mass handwashing campaign called the “Break the chain” campaign.
Similarly, the campaign named “Protect yourself & others” was launched by NHS (National Health Service) and PHE (Public Health England) to spread awareness on COVID-19. As a part of this, the importance of hand washing for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water or hand sanitizer, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is featured on social media and other advertising platforms.
Many of the state governments in India have shut schools, theatres, malls to reduce the risks of virus transmission. Not only this, the Indian government itself has taken an appreciative step as it has decided to quarantine itself from the rest of the world until 15 April in the wake of the advisory.
The only purpose of these campaigns is to create awareness among the people and to prevent spreading the infection without panicking. So please follow NEWS regularly and stick strictly to the preventive measures put forward by the government.
As the novel coronavirus- SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain, scientists are still working on the vaccine or the drugs. In light of this fact, prevention is the only best cure for the infection. There is no need to panic as the good news is SARS-CoV-2 is much less fatal than the previously known coronaviruses. Let’s unite to combat the infection and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It will pass soon till then read, learn something new and relax.