Dr. Rajesh Chawla, Senior Consultant, Respiratory and Critical Care, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital
The deadly novel coronavirus has spread to 77 countries and territories around the world. Recently, a few cases have been reported in India. Anxiety is growing amidst the evidence that the disease has an incubation period of as long as two weeks before the symptoms start to show.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of respiratory viruses, named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. Coronaviruses can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to the Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The Novel coronavirus, nCoV is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. They are notorious for mutating quickly and acquiring new qualities.
Common signs of infection include
- Respiratory symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
- In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Prevention should be the utmost priority to keep the virus at bay and one should follow the mentioned guidelines:
- Maintain hand hygiene: Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands using soap and hand sanitizer.
- Contain the Spread: In case you get sick – Visit the doctor; isolate yourself from others; avoid public places; and maintain distance from people.
- Follow Coughing and Sneezing protocol: Cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze; in case a tissue is unavailable cover your mouth with your elbow. Wear a three-ply surgical mask, if required.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Elderly above 50 years of age suffering from diabetes and heart disease need to take extra precautions as it can lead to severe conditions in them.