What is COVID-19 (New Coronavirus Disease)?
New Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is a virus defined on January 13, 2020 as a result of studies on a group of patients who have respiratory problems (fever, cough, shortness of breath) in Wuhan, China at the end of December. The pandemic was firstly determined in sea products and wild animal bazaar. Then, the virus has spread from person to person and expanded to Wuhan, other cities in Hubei state, other states of People’s Republic of China and many other world countries.
Covid-19 disease originated from Coronavirus has been announced by the World Health Organization as pandemic on March 11. According to the explanation made on March 11, 118 thousand cases were detected in 114 countries due to the outbreak of Coronavirus and 4 thousand 291 people died because of the disease. After this explanation, WHO announced that Covid-19 was included in the group of pandemic diseases.
It has started to spread in our country with detection of 1 approved (certain) case on March 11, 2020. Coronavirus is a big family of viruses that may cause diseases in animals and humans. It is known that some coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections in humans from simple cold to more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). New Coronavirus Disease is caused by SAR-CoV-2 virus.
Why do some people infected by the respiratory virus suffer from more severe infections such as pneumonia while some of them have milder infection?
Severity of virus infections may differ depending on two factors. First is the aggression power of the virus exposed (capacity to beat the defense system of human body) and how many viruses come into the respiratory system. In worlds of one syllable, as number of viruses coming into the respiratory tracts increases (contacting closely with patients coughing more and cleaning their noses more, staying in closed areas with no natural air flow), it is quite understandable that viruses can beat out defense system and more likely reach lower respiratory tracts (bronchia and lungs) and cause more severe infections like pneumonia (lung infection).
Second is the power of defense (immune) system of the person exposed to virus. In general, our immune system is weaker in elder people, people who have underlying chronic disease, are undernourished and who are extremely tired in body and mind and virus infections affect these individuals more severely. Use of tobacco and tobacco products (cigarette, hubble-bubble, etc.) also ruins defense mechanisms of respiratory tracts and gives rise to development of many respiratory infections, including CoVID 19.
What are the symptoms of Coronarivus infection?
Incubation period (the time elapsing until the first symptoms are seen after exposure to the virus) of the disease is between 2-14 days. No symptoms are seen during the incubation period, but transmission is possible. This virus infection causes symptoms similar to other respiratory infections. It mainly shows itself with fever, cough and shortness of breath. It is also seen some patients have sore throat and runny nose. Generally, the disease has medium-heavy clinical progress. The majority of people who get sick extremely and even die consists of elder people (>65 ages) and people who have underlying diseases (lung diseases, organ failures, cancer, diabetes, immunosuppressive diseases, etc.). Young and healthy adults are mildly affected by the virus relatively. People who have these symptoms and have come from countries where the infection is detected (especially those who have been in such countries in the last 14 days) or contact with those persons should apply to health institutions and be checked by notifying their situations in terms of infection.
How does the virus spread?
As all respiratory viruses, it is known that Coronavirus is mainly transmitted with inhalation of droplets generated when a patient coughs, sneezes, cleans his/her nose, laughs or speaks. Infection in this way generally develops as a result of close-range contact of a person with the patient one less than 1 meter. In addition, there is also a risk of transmission when you touch your mouth, nose or eye after touching surfaces that someone who has the virus touched on before (door handle, etc.).
How can I protect myself?
Precautions are similar for protection against all respiratory infections:
1. You should put on mask in all closed areas where you will be contact with people closely whether sick or not.
2. You should stay away from crowded places as much as possible.
3. You should protect your physical distance with people as at least 1 meter, and with sneezing people as 1,5-2 meters.
4. You should wash your hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds. If you cannot access water or soap, you can also use alcohol-based sanitizer solutions.
5. In any case, you should avoid from touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands as far as possible.
6. You should ensure social isolation without going out except obligatory cases.
7. You should avoid from contacting infected people closely.
8. Patients are required to stay home as much as possible, covering their mouths and noses with a disposable paper tissue and throw the tissue into the waste bin. If there is no paper tissue, it is recommended to cover your mouths and noses with inner surface of elbows (in this way, it is aimed to keep hands clean relatively and prevent virus from being transmitted through hand contact). If patients wear mask, risk of dissemination and transmission will decrease.
How can I be treated if I catch the infection?
As previously stated, there is no medicine for respiratory viruses except Influenza virus. So, only some medicines like painkiller, febrifuge, etc. can be used to cease the complaints. Those whose fever doesn’t go down within 48 hours or who have respiratory problems (shortness of breath) should immediately apply to a health institution.