Home Health TopicsCOVID-19 COVID-19 and its Prevention: How to Protect Yourself from the Virus

COVID-19 and its Prevention: How to Protect Yourself from the Virus

by Gauri Kolhe

The Coronavirus also named novel coronavirus ( CoV) or “COVID-19” by the World Health Organization (WHO) is a pathogenic virus, which is responsible for the outbreak of pneumonia which started from the beginning of December 2019 near Wuhan City, Hubei Province ,China. Since then the Coronavirus has been a part of our day to day lives.

Researchers have carried out various phylogenetic analysis which revealed that the bats were the primary COVID-19  virus reservoir, but the intermediate host has not been detected till now.

Coronaviruses are mostly known to cause gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections in humans and the virus has been categorized into four major types:  

  1. Gammacoronavirus
  2. Deltacoronavirus
  3. Betacoronavirus
  4. Alphacoronavirus

The first two types mostly infect birds, whereas the last two infect mammals.

The best way to protect yourself from the virus according to World Health Organization (WHO) is to take simple precautions, such as social distancing, by wearing a mask, by avoiding crowded areas, by frequently cleaning your hands and by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

We will discuss these things later on but before that, it is important to know how this virus spreads.

How Coronavirus Spreads:

coronavirus

With cases now counting to a total of 133,698,881 and still growing in number all over the world, and with the total number of deaths counting to 2,901,132  as of 8 April 2021.

Check live numbers at: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Health officials from different parts of the world are focused on slowing the spread of the disease.

We should also play a role in that by understanding how coronavirus spreads, and by taking the right steps so that we don’t get sick and infect others.

The Coronavirus disease or COVID-19 is a pandemic that spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze.

It can also spread through air and via surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person. Let’s discuss these processes in detail below.

  • Through respiratory droplets also known as aerosols: This disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose and mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or exhales.

These droplets also known as aerosols land on objects and surfaces around the infected person. Others can catch COVID-19 by coming in contact with these objects and surfaces and then, touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

People can also directly catch the virus by breathing in the droplets from an infected person when he coughs or exhales. This is why it is really important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

  • Transmission through air: Research shows that the virus can live in the air for up to 3 hours. That way it can get into your lungs if an infected person breathes out and you breathe that air in.

Also various studies have shown that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.

  • Surface transmission: You can also catch the coronavirus when you touch surfaces or objects that a person with the virus has coughed or sneezed on.

You may touch a door knob or a handle that’s contaminated and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes. This virus can live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for 2 to 3 days.

To avoid this clean and disinfect all those objects and surfaces that you or your family may come in contact with during several times a day.

  • Through fecal matter: Studies have shown that the virus can also be found in infected person’s fecal matter, but the risk of catching the virus from the feces appears to be very low.

Common Questions Regarding the Spread of COVID-19 :

1. How Easily Can We Get Infected?

 Since coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets expelled by someone  who is infected, the chances of getting infected by the virus is pretty high.

Researchers suggest that on an average, every person who has COVID-19 will pass it on to two or three persons.

One study says that the number is even higher, with one sick person infecting four to six other persons.

It has been found that children tend to get infected with the virus less often and have milder symptoms compared to adults.

However, they can still catch and spread it and in some cases children have become seriously ill and have died as well.

2. Can Our Pets Get Infected? 

Through the entire pandemic situation only a few pets have been tested positive for COVID – 19 . However not all of these animals had signs of  illness whereas some had mild symptoms.

The animals may have caught the virus from close contact with humans who were infected. Therefore it is advised to monitor your pet’s activities and its health.

3. Is It Safe To Receive Delivery Packages From Any Area Where COVID-19 Has Been Reported?

Yes, it is completely safe to receive such packages because the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and also the risk of catching the virus from such packages that has been moved, travelled and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low.

How to Protect Yourself from the Virus

There are a number of ways on how to protect yourself and to slow down the spread of the virus. Stay aware and follow the guidelines that has been issued by the national, state and local public health authorities.

Countries worldwide are adopting various measures to prevent and control these outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in slowing or stopping these outbreaks.

However, these outbreaks are highly unpredictable so check regularly for latest news.

In India as well the COVID situation is really bad with hundreds of new cases every day. India has reported a total of 12,928,574 cases and 166,892 deaths till now and the numbers just keep on growing.

This puts India in the top three nations with highest COVID cases with United States of America in the first place and Brazil in the second.  

Check live numbers at:  https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdvegas1?

Reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions :

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with an alcohol- based hand wash or wash them with soap and water for a minimum of thirty seconds. Washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand wash kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Always maintain at least one meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When you get out of your house always wear a mask and when you are talking to people, stand at least six feet away from them.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands. The reason being, your hands may have touched many surfaces and objects and could have potentially picked up viruses. Once contaminated, your hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose and mouth from where it can easily enter your body.
  • If you feel unwell stay home. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately. Follow the guidelines issued by your local health authorities and self quarantine yourself if you see some symptoms such as headache, low grade fever (37.3 degree Celsius) and slightly runny nose, until you recover.

If situation worsens call your local health authorities and allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right facility.

  • Avoid travel if possible and try to work from home. Don’t allow visitors at your house and don’t share your personal items like towels, face masks and utensils. Frequently sanitize touched surfaces like counters, doorknobs, phones and remote controls.
  • Have some basic knowledge about the symptoms so that you can protect yourself  from people who are infected. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.

Some patients may also have aches and pains, nasal congestion, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhea.

These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but they don’t develop any symptoms and they don’t feel unwell.

These are the simple precautions that you can follow to protect yourself from the virus by reducing the chances of contracting it.

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