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Coronavirus - what is it and should I be worried?

Mar 16, 2020 Cold and Flu

Coronavirus, what is it and should I be worried?

As of writing this article 1,372 people in England have tested positive to the coronavirus as stated on the UK government website and there have been 35 deaths. But many are still confused as to what it is, how it got here and what do to about it. In this article we will look at the basics of the virus and try to explain how and why it is causing so much panic all over the world. As so much is still being discovered about this virus the information here may be out-dated so please check the NHS website or WHO website for detailed up-to-date information. The government is continually updating its information regarding the Coronavirus outbreak, it is important to check HERE to see what is being advised.

What is the Coronavirus?

Coronavirus (CoV) is the name given to a group of viruses which cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe respiratory problems. There are many types of coronavirus already identified and known to us, they can cause diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). CoV is transmitted between animals and humans, most viruses which affect animals do not generally pass onto humans. The ones which do are called Zoonotic, these are particularly dangerous especially if they are not known to us. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that there are several other CoV which they know of but haven’t yet infected humans. The current strain of Coronavirus is being called ‘2019- nCoV’, short for novel Coronavirus 2019.

How is it transmitted?

Its not entirely known how the virus is transmitted from one person to another however being that it attacks the respiratory system it is likely spread by droplets from infected people through coughing or sneezing. Or this could also be transmitted through contact with an infected surface area, i.e. door handles. After understanding this it’s important to ensure that your mouth is covered when sneezing or coughing, this helps prevent the spread of the virus. Effective hand hygiene is a must, washing your hands regularly with soap and water will also help prevent spread, as will ensuring that you cook all meats thoroughly.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan Province in China, thereafter the spread has continued and with increased air travel it is easy for a virus to jump cities and even countries via infected humans. It is shown to be present in 158 countries and territories presently.

                           

The Coronavirus is named as such due to the outer protein which looks like a crown, and the Latin word for crown is Corona, hence the name Coronavirus.

How will I know if I have the Coronavirus?

The symptoms of nCov-2019 are similar to that of a common cold, you may therefore experience:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of Breath

More severe symptoms include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Kidney Failure
  • Death

If you have recently travelled back from an infected area or country then you must stay indoors for 14 days after returning and avoid contact with people. More guidance can be sought on the NHS website here. The 14 days is important as this is the length of time it takes for the virus to incubate, meaning that if you have the virus you will get the symptoms by day 14. If you are clear of symptoms by day 14 it is safe to assume you are clear of the virus and can resume your normal daily activities.

The only way to know if you have contracted the coronavirus is through a blood test, so even if you are experiencing the above symptoms you may not have the CoV but instead just a regular infection.

 

Should I be worried? Is there a cure?

In the UK currently the risk to public has been raised to high. This means that we need to be vigilant and extra care needs to be taken as to reduce the spread of disease. There is no cure or vaccine available currently however work is being done to create one, the treatment currently involves symptomatic relief. If you are concerned and feel that you may be experiencing symptoms of the Coronavirus its important to stay at home and only call 111 if your symptoms are getting worse. While people of all ages can contract the virus it is particularly dangerous to older people and those with other medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma. The WHO offers practical advice on protective measures to take in order to prevent being infected, this can be found by clicking here.

 

Here at SimplyMeds we offer medication at our pharmacy store to help with common cold symptoms, take a look at our range HERE.

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