With so much information available across every medium about the coronavirus pandemic, it becomes very difficult to separate facts from fiction. Quacks and cures, rumors and wrong information can do a lot more harm than the virus itself. As has been proven in countries that have stalled the spread of disease, lockdowns, quarantines and isolation are some of the best ways to tackle this outbreak since there is not a vaccine yet available to treat this disease. A lot of people with common cold and flu symptoms are confused whether they have actually contracted the disease in spite of taking all precautionary measures. In this post, we would like to spread some awareness cold and coronavirus symptoms and it will be a prudent idea not to overcrowd hospitals with minor ailments and reserve it for emergencies only. Minor illnesses like flu and common cold do not warrant hospital visit and chances are high that you might expose yourself to potential viral infection while waiting at the hospital, in long queues. We should also take into consideration the immense pressure healthcare providers are under these days and not to add to their burdens. When you notice fever and dry cough, or if you have a travel history to any of the covid-19 affected countries over the past 14 days or have been in touch with someone who has a travel history, you need to contact authorities and health officials immediately. Now, let’s go further and learn more about coronavirus symptoms and how to differentiate those from flu and common cold. We would like to reiterate that since there is no vaccine yet available, symptomatic treatment is provided by doctors and prevention by self isolation and social distancing are sureshot ways to keep this virus away. Under no circumstance, one should self medicate, do not take any medicine without a doctor’s consent because it would push you into much more danger than coronavirus.
What is Covid-19/Coronavirus?
Covid-19 or coronavirus is a global pandemic now, attacking people in around 170 countries across the globe now. Coronavirus belongs to a group of viruses that infects the respiratory system and causes symptoms like dry cough, sore throat, fever, etc. Most coronaviruses infect only animals such as bats, but there now seven strains including covid-19 that have known to cause infection in humans. The novel Coronavirus 2019, now also known as covid-19, is a new strain in this category of viruses. It was first reported in December 2019 in a town in Wuhan, China, which then rapidly spread to various countries across the world. What first started as an animal-to-animal infection, later changed to animal-to-human, and now is a highly contagious and rapidly spreading disease from human to human at an exponential rate. According to CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization), a wet market in Wuhan where seafood and animals were sold was the epicenter of animal-to-person transmission of this virus. According to a report in “Guardian,” there’s a chance that coronavirus can infect up to 60% of world’s population.
What Makes Coronavirus more Disturbing than Flu and Cold?
We do not take drastic measures to contain the spread of flu or influenza on the same scale as for coronavirus because of certain factors:
1. There’s no vaccine yet available to treat coronavirus. On the other hand, you can get flu shot every year to prevent seasonal flu.
2. Coronavirus is a highly contagious infection and there has been an exponential growth in people who have got infected. Seasonal flu has a slower rate of infecting people.
3. Coronavirus puts certain sections of people, i.e., elderly people and those with underlying illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease more at risk.
4. The incubation period of covid-19 is anywhere from 1 to 14 days – on the other hand – flu and common cold symptoms would show up in less than 4 days. Incubation period means people may be actually sick with the virus before showing any type of symptoms.
5. The mortality rate in flu is 0.1% and in coronavirus it’s 2%.
6. When compared to coronavirus, it’s easy to treat flu and common cold.
7. The hospitalization rate is just 2% with flu when compared to 14% rate in coronavirus.
How Does Coronavirus Spread?
1. Through coughing and sneezing, droplet transmission from the infected person.
2. By touching an object or surface that has virus on it and touching hand, mouth, and nose without washing hands.
3. Personal contact and shaking hands with someone has tested positive for coronavirus.
4. By not practicing personal hygiene of washing hands frequently.
What are the Common Symptoms of Corona virus?
From patients who have recovered, we have noted that this infection shows distinct symptoms. Some patients are completely asymptomatic and show no signs of disease. In most cases, it is observed that the illness starts with a fever and dry cough which may later develop into difficulty breathing along with muscle and body pain. Here are some more commonly seen symptoms gathered from patients who have recovered:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing.
- Pneumonia-like symptoms.
- Dry cough
- Diarrhea in some cases.
- Headache in some cases.
- Shortness of breath.
What are the symptoms of Seasonal Flu?
Most common flu symptoms include wet or dry cough, high fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, runny nose, fatigue, stuffy nose, vomiting, and in some cases diarrhea. Flu symptoms often come on suddenly and people often recover within a week or two. According to studies, only about 1% of people in the United States develop symptoms severe enough to be hospitalized, when it comes to seasonal flu.
How Soon Can you see coronavirus Symptoms?
The incubation period of this virus is anywhere from 2 to 14 days. The symptoms can show up in some people in two days, while in others it takes anywhere from 5 to 14 days. Some people may not show symptoms at all; however, if you notice difficulty in breathing, high temperature, and other symptoms mentioned above, immediately put yourself into isolation and contact covid helpline for further assistance.
Can I Protect myself and my family from Coronavirus?
Yes, absolutely! Stay at home and practice social distancing. Elderly people and those with pre-existing illnesses, high blood pressure, immune compromised, diabetes are at higher risk and need to be careful and watch out for symptoms. Practice basic hygiene practices such as hand-washing, covering the mouth while coughing and sneezing, and stay at home!
What you should Do if you are seeing Corona virus Symptoms:
- Immediately self isolate yourself from your family. Shift into a different room and maintain at least 6-feet distance from your family members.
- Wear a mask immediately to cover your nose and mouth so that no droplet transmission happens. Do not share any of your personal belongings with any other family member. Avoid common bathroom in the house.
- Disinfect all surfaces like door knobs, taps, toilets, sinks, and dining table, etc. to kill the germs that are lurking around.
- The Indian government has set up a national toll free helpline number, 1075 which will spring into action to deal with corona related cases. Immediate help will be provided to those affected.
- Do not venture outside till authorities reach you.
- If you have ventured outside, prepare a list of people you have met or have come in contact with and help the authorities prepare a route map to quarantine those people whom you may have unknowingly infected.
- Most importantly, do not self medicate yourself. Only your doctor can prescribe you medicines, not medicines that have been forwarded through whatsapp messages.
- Keep yourself hydrated, drink hot water frequently.
- Above all, do not panic, if you need medical help, authorities in India have all systems and medical facilities in place to treat coronavirus. A lot of people who were earlier detected with coronavirus have now been discharged from hospital and are healthy now.
Stay at home, stay safe!