WHAT IS CORONAVIRUSES?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is also known as Wuhan pneumonia or Wuhan coronavirus (‘Novel’ means newly discovered).
These viruses are zoonotic, which means they can only infect animals and spread from one animal to another. A coronavirus can spread to humans, if certain mutations occur in the virus.
In December of 2019, several cases of pneumonia like disease were reported in Wuhan city of China and on further research, the cause was traced to a new strain of coronavirus family (2019-nCoV) by WHO.
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus but much younger person, older people and people with some pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, appears to be more susceptible to become severely ill with the virus.
Coronaviruses usually spread through droplet infection containing large particles that can only be suspended in the air for three to six feet. Some coronaviruses can also be found in the stool of some individuals.
Most of the symptoms typically go away in a few days.
But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract, it can cause pneumonia, especially in the very young or older people, people with diabetes, asthma, heart disease or people with weakened immune systems.
In more severe cases, infection can cause severe acute respiratory syndrome, bronchitis, kidney failure and even death.
SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper respiratory infection including runny nose, coughing, sore throat,shortness of breath and sometimes fever.
Some people even complain of of non-respiratory symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea in early stages.
Causative agent is a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which is a member of Coronavirus family.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
You can get some lab tests done including nose and throat swab cultures and blood tests to find out whether your cold is caused by a coronavirus.
Currently there are no approved anti-virals for this particular coronavirus, so treatment is supportive and symptomatic.
For the severely sick patients with this illness, specialized care in an intensive care unit (ICU) can be lifesaving.
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus or if exposed once, do the same things you do to avoid the common cold:
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands.
- When coughing or sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or a tissue (throw away the tissue in a dustbin and wash hands).
- Staying away from people who have signs of a respiratory tract infection.
- If you choose to wear a mask, be sure to cover both mouth and nose. Avoid touching mask once it’s on. Immediately discard single-use mask after each use.
- A humidifier/steamy shower can also help in case of a sore and raw throat.
Homeopathy has wide range of medicines to combat the symptoms of corona virus. Homeopathy also can help in preventing the spread of the infection. Medicines like ars alb, gelsemium, allium cepa, kali bich can be given depending on the symptoms. Ars alb 30 thrice daily for three days can give prevention against corona virus.
DO’S AND DON’TS
To help prevent a coronavirus infection, you treat a coronavirus infection the same way you treat a cold:
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your inner elbow. Then throw away the tissue and wash your hands.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink fluids.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that you frequently touch.
- Avoiding touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Staying home when sick
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided.