It is an infection with the SARS-CoV2 virus. I first discovered it in Wuhan, China on 31st December 2019. It is similar to SARS-CoV1, which caused the 2003-2004 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak. Covid 19 is included in the coronavirus family which provides for SARS and MERS (middle east respiratory symptoms) viruses. It mainly developed from bats. It is spread from country to country, thus declared a “global pandemic”.
How is the Corona virus spread?
Human-to-human transmission is the main way of spreading. Airborne transmission is the main route of spread. The virus spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose through cough, sneezing, speaking, or breathing. People who are in close contact with an infected person are at high risk.
The person within 6ft of distance from the infected person can get an infection. Viruses can live in the air for up to 3hrs. This virus can also spread through the fluid of the eyes, contaminated surfaces, food, or water. But it depends on other factors like the type of surface, temperature, and humidity. Other animals like cats, ferrets, hamsters, rabbits, and raccoon dogs are high-risk animals having infection of SARS-CoV2.
What are the symptoms of Corona Virus infection?
Most people have mild to moderate infection with symptoms like Fever, cough, weakness, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, vomiting,
Redness & itching in the eyes. Less number of patients presented with serious symptoms: Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain(pressure in chest), and difficulty staying awake.
These are serious symptoms, that need immediate medical attention. Symptoms may start to appear after 3-4 days of infection and it takes around 2-3 weeks to get well completely.
Old age people (50 years or above) with co-morbidities like hypertension, any other heart disease, and diabetes can have serious complications of covid-19. It is best to get them hospitalized as soon as possible. Asymptomatic people are at high risk of transmitting the infection.
What are the tests for covid-19?
Antigen testing, RT-PCR test & Antibody testing are available for covid-19. Antigen and RT-PCR tests tell you about the current infection. In both of the tests, have to take a swab from the nose/throat.
Antigen testing– You can avail results quickly. The results are not as accurate as the RT-PCR test. But it is helpful when the RT-PCR testing load is increased.
RT-PCR testing- Results of this method have high accuracy. Results take time from 6 hours to 24 hours. It is the most commonly used method. When patients with symptoms tested negative for antigen tests, the physician requests RT-PCR for more accurate results.
Antibody testing– This testing method tells us if the person had an infection in the past. A blood sample is required for this test. Not done routinely and not useful to know about the present infection. It is only helpful for research purposes, as recommended by WHO.
For traveling purposes, you need to do RT-PCR testing. If the person is negative in the test, still you have to be careful because you can get an infection during the journey.
What treatment is given coronavirus(covid-19)?
Treatment should be started as soon as you develop symptoms & tested positive. Most people with mild infections can recover at home with some basic medication according to symptoms. Early treatment can reduce the chances of complications and hospitalization.
What steps are to be taken by patients with mild disease in home isolation?
-Isolate him/herself in a properly ventilated room.
-Use a mask and discard it after 8 hours of use.
-Use sanitizer before and after touching any object or surface.
-Keep separate things for personal use from other family members.
-Monitor temperature and oxygen saturation 3-4times a day.
-Take proper rest and drink plenty of fluids to maintain proper hydration.
Notice changes in symptoms and report it to treat physician and take medication as per prescribed.
The caregiver should take care of Corona virus
- Always use an N95 or triple-layer mask when in close proximity to the ill person.
- Use hand sanitizer and gloves when coming in contact with an infected person.
- Try to maintain a 6ft distance from the infected person.
An old age person(50 years or more) or person with a serious infection and with other co-morbidities like- any heart disease, any chronic lung disease, or a weak immune system should be hospitalized as soon as notices symptoms. Because there are much more chances of complications and death due to the disease.
Anti-viral, monoclonal antibodies, and steroids are the mainstay of treatment included in the prescription. Other over-the-counter medicines are used according to symptoms.
Some countries have approved the use of Ramdesivir (an antiviral group of drugs) for emergency use in covid infection.
Another drug is Tocilizumab, which is a monoclonal antibody (IL-6 blocker). It is found to have beneficial use in covid complications due to inflammatory reactions.
Other beneficial treatment options are nebulizer, CPAP ( Continuous positive airway pressure), BiPAP (Bi-level positive airway pressure), and ventilator. BiPAP machines are found most beneficial in covid patients. It provides high-pressure air into your lungs. Also known as positive pressure ventilation.
Disease prevention and Contact tracing
- Wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose properly, in public, indoor, and crowded places.
- Choose an open and properly ventilated area.
- Clean hands often with sanitizer or any alcohol-based rub.
- Notice if any symptoms appear and isolate yourself. Inform the person in contact and get the testing done(this prevents the spread of disease).
- Get vaccinated and if any queries about anything regarding vaccination, contact your physician.
- Vaccination cannot prevent from getting infection but it reduces the severity of infection and chances of hospitalization. In old age people, it reduces the death rate, decreases the duration of hospitalization, and causes speedy recovery.
Complications after covid infection
People with co-morbidities have the highest risk of having a serious form of covid-19. They develop life-threatening complications affecting different organs.
ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome)
It is a very common and serious complication. Mostly presented with pneumonia. ARDS is diagnosed as worsening of respiratory symptoms after covid-19 positive and leading to hypoxic respiratory failure.
ARDS may progress to lung fibrosis. Fibrous lesions occur due to chronic inflammatory reaction and it heals with scar tissue.
Coagulation problems are common in covid-19 and detected via elevated D-dimer. This thrombus disseminates and blocks multiple organs which leads to fatal cases.
It is a potentially life-threatening complication that occurs due to dislodged thrombus blocking pulmonary arteries. It is due to venous stasis, trauma, and hypercoagulability. Symptoms include chest pain, dyspnea, hemoptysis, and syncope. It is confirmed by imaging like CTPA (computed tomography pulmonary angiography). Patients with pulmonary embolisms are treated with anticoagulant therapy and supportive care. Hemodynamically unstable cases require immediate medical supervision.
Parosmia (loss of smell)
Common complications started within 3months of infection.
It is a fungal infection reported in a patient who had a serious covid infection and recovered from it. It is more prevalent in patients having low immunity (old age with co-morbidities like diabetes, and long-term steroid use). It is a highly aggressive and invasive infection, mostly presents with a sinus infection, and involves the nasal and head regions.
It is a fatal condition. Mostly seen in ICU patients. It is diagnosed with circulatory, cellular, and metabolic abnormalities.
This term includes pneumothorax (most common) & pneumomediastinum. It is associated with longer hospital stays and a high mortality rate. It is mainly due to inflammatory reactions in lung tissue.
It is a rare complication, mostly seen in patients with invasive mechanical ventilation, barotraumas, and serious infection. It occurs when gas or air accumulates in the subcutaneous layer of the skin. Mostly noticeable on X-ray & CT scans.
It is a systemic inflammatory response of the body to infection, affecting multiple organs. It is identified via procalcitonin, protein C-reactive protein, IL-6, and other inflammatory indices.
Other rare complication includes acute liver and kidney injury, secondary infection, rhabdomyolysis, aspergillosis, candidemia, cardiac arrest, etc.
The covid vaccine protects from infection getting serious. The vaccine decreases side effects and complications in infected persons. It decreases the rate of hospitalization.
How to get the vaccine- Age 12 years or above is eligible for vaccination. Download the app Co-WIN and register yourself to get the vaccine. This app will give you a center and time slot for vaccines. Carry your photo-id proof (Aadhar card) at the center.
The vaccine is given by intramuscular route, mostly on your non-dominant hand. After taking the dose you have to wait in the observation area for 30 minutes for observing any early side effects of the vaccine.
Possible side effects after getting a covid vaccine shot– At the injection site: pain, redness & swelling. Generalized (flu-like symptoms): Fever,
chills, cough, muscle pain, headache, and weakness.
Take general medication (which is mostly provided by the vaccination centers) to relieve symptoms. When symptoms persist for more than 24 hours and get worst then go for a physician.
What is the vaccine schedule– After taking the first dose of the vaccine, the second dose should be taken after a minimum of 8 weeks. A booster dose is taken after 4months (16 weeks) after getting the second dose. Side effects and dosing are the same as the first dose.
For any queries like pregnancy, major surgeries, or any other serious ongoing infection; take advice from your consulting physician. Now a vaccine is required at all places like public transport, public places, all government sectors, and traveling.
What does reinfection with the virus of COVID-19 mean?
When you become infected again after being recovered from infection by COVID 19, you can still get another serious illness because there is some immunity to the virus of COVID -19 but it is not 100%.
How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?
Experts don’t know how long it takes for COVID-19 to develop from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes to symptoms. It could be days, weeks, or months. People who get sick later might never show any signs of illness at all. Most people recover completely after about two weeks.
How to stay calm down during the coronavirus pandemic?
Coronavirus is a virus that can cause illness. People around the world are being told to avoid public places and limit contact with other people. To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it is important to know how to stay calm during social distancing measures. Here are some tips to keep you sane through the coronavirus crisis.