In light of the current epidemic/pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19), here are some basic facts and instructions on how to deal with this new situation.
This new coronavirus emanates from a family of viruses known to affect the respiratory system and cause respiratory infections. However, this particular coronavirus’s characteristic is unique for its high rate of transmission and relatively high fatality rate compared to the flu viral disease.
At this time, there are no known vaccines or specific treatments against it, hence the best way to fight the virus is containment.
Symptoms of the corona virus infection may resemble flu like symptoms and usually include fever, coughing, shortness of breath and general fatigue. The incubation time is from few days up to 14 days and even in rare cases longer. Most people may show symptoms after 4 to 6 days.
Corana Virus detection:
Currently, the capacity for testing for the virus to identify patients or carriers of the virus is limited, however, in the next few days there should be no limitations. Only physicians or other qualified personnel can order the tests at present. Patients who should be considered for diagnostic testing are:
- People with flu like symptoms, including fever, coughing and shortness of breath, especially if known to be exposed to either travelers from affected areas (even the travelers do not show symptoms of disease) or people who tested positive for the corona virus.
- People with no symptoms but who have been in contact with travelers from affected areas or with patients who tested positive for the corona virus.
Currently all elderly people and in particular those with other chronic medical conditions (chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, chronic heart conditions and many other chronic medical conditions) or immune compromised patients are at the highest risk for severe complications.
Interestingly, children below the age of 15 appears to be the least vulnerable at this time.
The situation is very fluid and things are changing from day to day. It is very important at this point to follow all recommendations and instructions published by the CDC. (CDC.gov, coronavirus.gov).
Common reasonable measure to avoid transmission of a virus:
- Avoid crowded places as much as possible
- Avoid massive transportations such as trains, buses, airplanes, cruises as much as possible
- Wash your hands routinely with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with antiseptic gel where possible.
- Avoid close personal contact such as handshaking, kissing, and hugging as much as possible.
If you develop any respiratory symptoms, or have any particular questions, please contact your physician and follow medical advise.
March 13, 2020
James Tracy, DO