Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus
You’d agree to the roller coaster that 2020 has been and now, the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic has brought back social distancing and virtual learning while highlighting the importance of boosting immunity for well-being.
The rapid spread of coronavirus has also given rise to widespread paranoia across the world. You’d have noticed the increased frequency of Whatsapp forwards with remedies, treatment and age-old nuskhe claiming to be the cure for COVID-19 but undoubtedly, not all that is forwarded holds the truth. Well, it is essential that each individual gets proactive with complete information and precautions about the virus to prevent further spread. Here are some facts about what coronavirus is, what you can do to prevent it from spreading and what you can do if tested positive.
What is COVID-19?
Well, COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a recently discovered coronavirus (SARS- CoV-2). It is a highly communicable disease that is posing a threat to people across the globe. Some of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, fever, chills, fatigue and shortness of breath. Whereas, others include diarrhea, sore throat, headache, loss of smell or taste, stuffy or runny nose, pink eye and rashes. However, individuals with COVID-19 may experience none, some or all of the symptoms. While some are asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms, others experience fatal symptoms. Furthermore, it is being observed that older people or individuals with co-morbidities like heart issues, asthma, chronic kidney disease, inherited metabolic disorders and diabetes may experience severe symptoms.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Considered a highly contagious viral disease, COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets when an infected person exhales, coughs or sneezes. The virus thrives on surfaces like table tops, doorknobs, taps, rods and handles. Since it spreads from one person to another, the chances of contracting the virus are high when in contact with or near an infected person. Furthermore, some studies believe that coronavirus is airborne and therefore it can spread through infected droplets suspended in the air in closed air-conditioned environments of offices, AC buses, shopping malls and theatres even when you don't come in direct contact with an infected person.
How to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
As widely said ‘prevention is better than cure’, it goes the same with coronavirus. The first step to staying healthy and safe is to follow all the precautionary measures to prevent the spread. Here’s a list of preventive measures you should follow:
- Follow good respiratory hygiene
Maintaining proper hygiene in times of rapid virus spread should be your topmost priority. Make it a habit to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing and sneezing to reduce the spread. Also, make sure you discard all the tissues after a single use and sanitize handkerchiefs in hot water. Along with this, wash your hands frequently or sanitize them with an alcohol-based hand rub after touching any surface to reduce the risk of infecting yourself.
- Wear a mask whenever you step out
If you are stepping out for grocery shopping or any other errand, make sure you wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose. You can explore a range of masks and order them from 1Tab to stay safe whenever you step out. If you opt for a cloth mask, make sure to keep it clean. Wash your mask each time after use and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes when you remove it. This helps in preventing the possible transfer of virus from your mask to your hands or face.
- Maintain social distancing in public places
Make sure to avoid close contact with people. Whenever stepping out, make sure to keep a distance of at least three feet from people, not just with those showing symptoms of respiratory illness like coughing and sneezing. Adding to it, it is recommended to avoid non-essential travel be it cultural events, sporting events or family gatherings if you have any cold or flu symptoms.
When should one seek medical advice?
Make sure you consult a doctor if you experience prolonged fever, cough, fatigue, loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath or any of the above-mentioned symptoms of COVID-19. Seeking medical advice is a must for timely treatment of coronavirus and your doctor will guide you with the next steps including:
- Whether you should stay at home and monitor your symptoms
- Whether you should visit a doctor for a thorough health checkup
- Whether you should go to a hospital for urgent care
Furthermore, if you have any of the symptoms your doctor will advise for COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Testing for COVID-19 is the first step towards knowing if you’ve contracted the virus, thereby self-isolating and moving towards the right treatment if you are tested positive. Read on to know more about the two types of COVID-19 tests that you can select from:
- COVID-19 RT PCR Tests
A CDC approved rapid test for the coronavirus, COVID-19 RT PCR test involves taking samples from the nose or throat. This test helps detect the active coronavirus infection. The presence of a virus in the sample brings about a positive result, whereas the negative result does not mean that you can never be infected. Results of COVID-19 RT PCR tests are delivered within 24-36 hours. You can also book your test for a home sample collection.
- COVID ANTIBODY IGG Tests
Also known as serological tests, it involves taking blood samples for screening COVID-19 antibodies in the blood. This test does not look for the active virus but checks whether your immune system has responded to the virus. The presence of COVID-19 antibodies establishes that the person has been infected once, whereas the negative results highlight that the individual has never been exposed to the novel coronavirus. You can book your COVID Antibody IGG tests online to get results within 1-3 days.
When is home treatment advised?
In case an individual tests positive and has mild symptoms, the doctor may advise home treatment. Whereas, in severe cases, hospitalization is advised. The severity and duration of the symptoms of COVID-19 vary from person to person, for most people the symptoms usually take 7-14 days to subside.
Here are a few things one should keep in mind when advised home treatment:
- Stay in a separate room at home, unless there is a medical emergency that requires travelling.
- Use a separate bathroom and wipe all surfaces with a sanitizer be it, doorknobs, switches or handles.
- Wipe your phone often with an alcohol-based disinfectant.
- Make sure to follow good hand hygiene. Wash your hands for around 20 seconds using soap and water. You can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer to keep your hands clean, especially before you eat, use the restroom, blow your nose or after you cough.
- Follow good respiratory hygiene by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow. Also, make sure to dispose all used tissues after a single use.
- Wear a facemask if you step out of the room or when someone enters your room. Additionally, sanitize your hands before and after you wear a mask.
- Monitor your symptoms such as dry cough, shortness of breath, recurrence of fever, loss of taste and smell.
- Make daily monitoring of your body temperature a norm. Keep a thermometer at hand to keep a check on fever. If you can't find one at home, get a thermometer home delivered. If the temperature is between 100-102 F, have rest and take medication as prescribed by your doctor. Whereas, if your temperature is over 102 F, make sure to call your doctor for consultation.
- Keep a check of your oxygen levels with a finger pulse oximeter. You can even get a pulse oximeter delivered to your home. Low oxygen levels can be a warning sign that medical care is needed. Normal levels of oxygen are usually 95% or higher, whereas for people with a preexisting health condition oxygen levels could be around 90%. If your home SpO2 reading is lower than 95%, make sure to consult your doctor immediately.
- Stay as far away from older people in your home as possible to prevent the spread.
- Do not share water, towels, utensils or any other items with your family members or friends.
- Do not discontinue self-quarantine unless advised by your healthcare provider.
When should one seek immediate medical advice?
If you are tested positive and advised self-quarantine, monitor your symptoms regularly. Make sure to seek medical advice immediately, if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- If your pulse oximeter repeatedly shows oxygen levels less than 95%
- If you have a persistent fever of more than 102 F
- If you experience worsening shortness of breath or have breathing difficulties
- If you experience fatigue and are unable to stay awake
- If you experience persistent pain or pressure in the chest
What diet should be followed in the home treatment of COVID-19?
A well-balanced diet full of nutrients is a key aspect determining overall health and immunity. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet plays an important role in speedy treatment from coronavirus. Here’s a list of foods that will help you build your immunity naturally, keeping you healthy for long:
- Energy-rich food:
Add more fruits and vegetables to your plate, especially green leafy veggies. Try adding food that has carbohydrates and provides energy to the body. Include cereals like wheat, rice, maize, etc. in your daily diet.
- Bodybuilding food:
Make sure to include food that provides protein to the body. Add more pulses, eggs, meat, milk and milk products to your daily meals that also gives a boost to your immunity.
- Protective food:
Foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals help in boosting immunity. Include seasonal fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and minerals such as zinc, copper, iron and selenium. Also, include spices like turmeric, cloves, cumin, coriander and garlic in your meals as advised by the Ministry of AYUSH and backed by Ayurvedic principles as organic immunity-boosters.
- Drink lots of fluids:
Last but not least, people recovering from coronavirus disease are advised to stay hydrated. Drinking water and clear liquid beverages are essential even when you are not thirsty as it helps in replacing body’s fluid losses. Some of the signs of dehydration include increased thirst, dark coloured urine, dry mouth, increased confusion and tiredness. Make sure to gulp down water or fruit-infused beverages to keep up your hydration levels. At a minimum, it is recommended to have around 4-6 sips of water every 15 minutes.
What’s the takeaway?
While the spreading coronavirus is worrisome, try not to panic and stick to the precautionary measures to protect yourself from the virus. Furthermore, if you experience any symptoms, make sure to get tested for COVID-19 as advised by your doctor. Stay at home and follow your doctor’s instructions if diagnosed positive for a timely and speedy recovery.
By: Navreet Kaur | on 2021-04-29