The new coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified in China at the end of 2019 and is a new strain that had not yet been observed in humans. It is important to remember that currently the most frequent cause of respiratory infection and fever is that derived from influenza infection.
What symptoms does it produce?
The most common include:
• Shortness of breath.
In some cases, there may also be digestive symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, significant difficulty breathing, kidney failure and even death. These cases usually occur in the elderly, or people who suffer from some other diseases such as heart, lung or immunity problems.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you have any of these symptoms and have travelled to a risk zone (see below) or have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, get in touch with your General Practitioner by phone in order to get a medical assessment of your clinical picture.
Is the infection highly contagious?
The infection is transmissible from person to person and its contagiousness depends on the infectious dose in the respiratory tract. For infection to occur, a direct contact of the respiratory secretions of an infected animal or person with the mucous membranes of another person (nose, mouth, eyes) must be involbed. Transmission through the air over distances greater than one or two meters seems unlikely.
What can I do to protect myself?
General measures of individual protection against respiratory diseases include:
- Regular hand washing (with soap and water or alcoholic solutions), especially after direct contact with sick people or their surroundings.
- Try to stay at least one meter away from people with respiratory symptoms
- Cover your mouth and nose with tissues or wash your hands right after coughing or sneezing
These measures also protect against frequent diseases such as influenza. Do not take special precautions with animals outside of Asia, or with food, to avoid this infection.
Is there a treatment?
There is no specific treatment for the new coronavirus, but some antivirals that have shown some effectiveness in recent studies are being used. There are many treatments available to control your symptoms. As a result, medical care improves your health.
Is the use of masks useful in the general population?
• If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with a suspected coronavirus infection.
• Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
• Masks are only effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning, with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or with water and soap.
• If you wear a mask, you should know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
What are the risk areas?
The risk areas for this virus are those where transmission is occurring at the community level. Community transmission currently exists in mainland China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy. Depending on the evolution of the situation, the risk areas may vary. They can be consulted on the website of the World Health Organization.
Should I worry about the situation outside Asia?
In the current situation, the overall public health risk outside Asia is considered moderate. As a general rule, it is now not recommended either by international organizations or the Ministry of Health to apply quarantine to people returning from high-risk areas, and exceptional control measures are no longer applied at our country’s points of entry.
What do I have to do if I have returned from risk areas? (China, Italy, etc.)
• Those returning from a risk zone and have good health: they can live a normal life, with family, friends and, in general, in the school and work environment.
• If, within 14 days of returning from the trip, they develop respiratory symptoms (fever, cough and shortness of breath): they must stay at home and contact the health services which will assess your state of health, travel history and possible contact with coronavirus cases.
Source: Best Doctors