Overview of the Coronavirus aka COVID-19
The coronavirus is a deadly new disease that has affected all of us in one way or another. No matter where you live in the world, you’ve experienced some level of enforced quarantine because of this virus.
How much do you know about the coronavirus? Why is it called a “coronavirus?” Since the surface of the infective agent contains spikes that look like crowns, that is why it is called a coronavirus. You may have also seen it get called COVID-19 too.
There have always been multiple strains of coronavirus in existence. Most of the known human coronaviruses only cause minor upper-respiratory issues and symptoms. That is why they have never really sent people into a panic before. But the newest strain is a much deadlier strain, which scientists call COVID-19. The acronym “COVID” stands for coronavirus disease, while the “19” refers to 2019 (the year in which this strain was discovered).
A significant portion of the population is asymptomatic, which means they won’t show any symptoms if they’re infected with COVID-19. This scenario might be great for them, but that doesn’t mean they can’t spread the disease to other people who are not asymptomatic. Someone who doesn’t experience symptoms won’t even realize they’re carrying and transmitting the disease either. That is why it is so dangerous.
Some infected people will experience minor symptoms, such as body aches, coughing, fever, gastrointestinal problems, and fatigue. They might not even develop these symptoms until 2 to 3 weeks after they’ve been infected. Then it’ll take another two weeks or so for the symptoms to diminish.
As for everyone else, they will get the worst of it. The most severe symptom is shortness of breath. If you experience this symptom, then you will need to go to the hospital for medical treatment. Shortness of breath means that the virus is affecting you worse than most other people. At the hospital, the doctor will connect you to a ventilator to help you breathe better.
Some of the other terrible symptoms that may follow include chest pain, chest pressure, bluish face, bluish lips, confusion, loss of taste, loss of smell, and unresponsiveness. If you experience any of these symptoms, even if you don’t experience shortness of breath, then you should still go to the hospital.
There is currently no vaccine or cure available for the deadly COVID-19 disease. There are not even any effective treatments for it yet either. The best doctors in the world are currently testing out the effectiveness of different medicines and drugs to see if they can treat COVID-19.
For now, the best thing an infected person can do is wait for their immune system to eliminate the virus and to build antibodies against it. The Center for Disease Control also recommends that infected people should drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, wash and sanitize their hands, sanitize joint surfaces in your home, and maintain a minimum six-foot distance from other people.
Reduce the Chance of Infection
Anyone with a weak immune system or preexisting respiratory issues need to take extra precautions to prevent a coronavirus infection. It is best to stay at home as much as possible and avoid going anyplace where there are crowds of people. And if you bring any mail, packages, or other items into your home from the outside, then you must sanitize those items immediately. Household cleaners, such as bleach, can be used to sanitize them.
COVID-19 spreads very quickly. An infected person who sneezes or coughs will cause their respiratory droplets to spread into their local airspace. These respiratory droplets carry the virus and will transmit into anyone who inhales those droplets through their nose or mouth. That is why you’re supposed to stay at least 6 feet away from everyone.
If you know someone who is sick, including friends and family members, then stay away from them. You should also get into the habit of avoiding any direct contact with your mouth, eyes, or nose. But if you have to touch these areas, then go to the bathroom and wash your hands with warm water and soap for a good 30 seconds or more. Either that or rub hand sanitizer on both sides of your hands and fingers. Make sure the sanitizer product contains a minimum of 70% alcohol.
The coronavirus can exist on surfaces for many hours. If you need to touch a commonly used surface, such as a faucet handle, door handle, elevator button, or rail, then use your sleeve, a cloth, or some other material to protect your hands.
If you have to put yourself in a position where lots of people will be around you, then wear a face mask or some type of face covering made of cloth. A bandana or scarf can be used if you don’t have a standard surgical mask or professionally made face mask.
Infected people should still wear face masks if they need to go out in public. A face mask will do a better job of preventing someone else from getting the virus than the other way around.
When you hear the term “social distancing,” it refers to the practice of staying away from big crowds and keeping a minimum of six feet away from other people in public. Social distancing can also refer to additional restrictions on public activity that are enforced by the federal government, state government, and local government. For instance, they could place restrictions on how many people can be together in a group or which businesses are deemed “non-essential” and have to close temporarily. Each government body has its restrictions and policies regarding social distancing.
Social distancing might seem like an easy practice to follow, but it does bring some uncomfortable side effects along with it. The idea of staying at home and distancing yourself from people for extended periods can harm your mental health.
No one knows when social distancing orders will be lifted. It could even last for months at this point. The uncertainty alone is enough to make people feel isolated and stressed out. They could develop “cabin fever” if this persists on for too much longer.
The feeling of loneliness can cause so many other adverse health conditions to form, such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and a weak immune system. As a society, we must think about whether prolonged social isolation is worth stopping the transmission of the coronavirus.
Fortunately, modern technology does a lot to make social isolation a little bit more bearable. People can video chat and talk with other people from the comfort of their homes. They can send text messages on their phones or use popular video calling programs like Google Hangouts, Skype, Google Duo, or FaceTime. Children can entertain themselves by spending more of their free time playing video games with their friends online.
People who don’t have fast internet access can still make a telephone call to people too.
If you want to reduce the impact of long-term isolation and loneliness, then try to keep yourself occupied each day. Create a schedule of activities to do, such as landscape outside, taking a walk around the block, taking a shower, and doing a home workout. If you can do your job from home, that is even better.
Whichever activities you perform, make sure they are a distraction by keeping you involved in them. Try to break up these activities to keep you occupied for an entire day. If you can take your mind off the coronavirus pandemic and the loneliness you feel, then it is suitable for your overall health.
Let’s go over some popular stay-at-home activities to help you with this:
Hobbies: Do you have any unique hobbies that you never had time for before? With all this free time, you can catch up on your favorite books, movies, and television shows. If your hobbies are more creative and artistic, then you could write, paint, draw, learn a new skill online, or practice playing a musical instrument.
Exercise: The massive number of gym closures has been laborious for many people who love to exercise and workout. However, there are still several other ways to get your heart beating and face sweating without having to go to a gym. You can jog outside, take a hike in the woods, walk around the block, or perform a home workout routine with some online personal trainers. Physical activities can be done from even the smallest of spaces. You can do stretches, weightlifting, isometrics, or resistance training. If you have an exercise machine or treadmill at home, that is even better.
Dealing with the Coronavirus
People with illnesses are more afraid now than they ever were before. If you suffer from a preexisting medical condition already, such as cancer or diabetes, then you’re at a higher risk of death from a COVID-19 infection. What you must do is reach out to your friends, family, and other support systems. They can help you cope during this uncertain and dangerous time in your life.
Stay in contact with your loved ones every single day. Talk to them about what you’re experiencing and feeling during this ordeal. You’d be surprised how much it can help you deal with your stress and isolation. It can even give you a sense of normalcy that you are sorely lacking right now.
Social distancing doesn’t need to be a total nightmare. You can connect with your friends and family on social media, smartphones, or cool video chat programs like FaceTime and Skype. If you need additional support services, then search around your local area for non-profit organizations, treatment facilities, and hospitals that offer these types of services.
Changes to Current Treatment Plans
If you had previously scheduled treatments, elective surgeries, or doctor’s appointments for dealing with other illnesses or health conditions, then you’ll have to reschedule them. COVID-19 has consumed the entire healthcare system, and they don’t have the resources to treat regular patients right now. Unless you have a dire emergency, then all other treatments have been postponed until the number of coronavirus cases declines rapidly.
One alternative to a traditional doctor’s appointment is a virtual appointment or telemedicine visit. This is where you talk to your doctor via a video call or telephone conversation. By doing this, you don’t have to be physically present in their office for the appointment. Patients who simply need medical advisement or prescriptions filled can benefit from these types of appointments.
New Rules for Hospitals and Clinics
Do not worry if you have to visit a health facility, treatment center, or hospital. Most of them have implemented new rules and precautions for keeping visitors and patients safe. Each facility has its unique restrictions, so you should call them before visiting to find out what they are.
For example, a lot of treatment centers have set limits on the number of people allowed inside their facility at any given time. That means everyone else has to wait outside in their cars until a staff member tells them to come in.
The Centers for Disease Control has stated that people who are 65 years old or more have a higher risk of death from the coronavirus infection. Senior citizens living in long-term care facilities and nursing homes have the highest risk of death because most of them have preexisting conditions. Some of these include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, lung disease, liver disease, immune system disorders, cancer, and renal disorders.
How to Stay Safe
The best thing that you can do right now is to stay at home and keep your distance from people. If you have to go out to the grocery store or some other public place, do your best to maintain six feet of distance from people. If you can cover your hands and face with a cloth material while out in public, then it is even better. Only take essential trips.
When you bring packages and other outside items back into your home, make sure you disinfect the packaging and wash your hands with warm water and soap. You can also use hand sanitizer as an alternative to washing your hands if necessary. Make sure the sanitizer has 70% alcohol or more.
Avoid touching other surfaces if you can help it, such as railings, door handles, and elevator bottoms. Use your sleeve to touch these things rather than your naked finger.
The coronavirus has probably affected you mentally, physically, and financially. All of these stresses can make your condition worse if you let them. The best thing you can do is lower your expectations and stop looking for a quick solution to this crisis. The coronavirus is probably going to be hanging around for a long while, so we must all learn to adapt to it the best we can. The better you learn how to cope with the pandemic, the better chance you’ll have of getting through it.