The Coronavirus (Covid-19) illness sweeping the world was declared as an international public health emergency by WHO (World Health Organisation).
A brief background to Coronavirus
The Covid-19 virus is a member of the coronavirus family.
Coronavirus refers to a family of viruses which are zoonotic (transmitted between animals and people) and cause common colds and respiratory issues.
Until 2003 research on this virus was relatively light. However, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – a type of coronavirus) heightened attention being placed on this group of virus and understanding the cause of the outbreak and 2012 saw another case of coronavirus strand – MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) which jumped from camels to humans.
Source for information – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-coronaviruses-cause-infection-from-colds-to-deadly-pneumonia1/
Symptoms of Coronavirus
There is a common trait among all coronavirus illnesses – they cause respiratory issues.
WHO and the NHS identify the main symptoms of coronavirus as usually including:
- High temperature
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
The symptoms can appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. This is known as the incubation period and hence why limiting your exposure to people is key.
The severity of symptoms is usually mild from common cold, however the serious implication of contracting a coronavirus is its ability to lead to pneumonia. This is where the illness becomes life-threating.
Symptoms of pneumonia are similar to flu or colds, and can include a high fever, sweating and sharp pains in the chest, as well as:
- Phlegmy cough
- Shortness of breath
Pneumonia can range from mild to life-threatening and is more serious in younger children and people over 65. People with a weaker immune system – due to age or health – are high at risk of contracting pneumonia.
What are the complications of pneumonia?
The risk and complications of pneumonia include bacteria entering the blood stream from your lungs, spreading an infection to your organs causing potential organ failure. Or, fluid accumulation around the lungs which can get infected and need draining or lead to an abscess causing difficulty breathing.
In mild cases, pneumonia may lead to a couple of days to a week of being unwell, before beginning to recover. Severe cases can be longer but could lead to becoming seriously unwell and could lead to death.
Treatment for Coronavirus
There isn’t currently a cure for coronavirus, and unlike Pneumonia, Anti-biotics don’t help as they don’t fight viruses.
However, this exposure heightens lifestyle changes we can make to keep our immune system functioning healthily and properly.
The suggested course is to eat healthy, drink plenty of fluids and rest to give your body a fighting chance of improving its immunity. Avoid smoking or polluted areas which could affect your breathing.