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Everything we need to know about the new coronavirus: prevention

Everything we need to know about the new coronavirus: prevention

What is the new coronavirus and how dangerous is it?
What do you need to know about the new coronavirus?
What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?
What are the causes of the new coronavirus?
How is the new coronavirus treated?
How can you prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
How to disinfect your hands?
Careful! This article does not replace the direct advice of a specialist doctor. If you have flu or cold symptoms, do not let them get worse, consult your family doctor.
How dangerous is the new coronavirus and how we deal with this epidemic, here are two questions that concern humanity during this period.
We have been at a turning point since the end of last year, as has happened throughout history, whether it was epidemics (black plague, Spanish flu, Ebola or SARS epidemic), wars, or natural cataclysms (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes).
This time, the concern is related to the emergence of a new coronavirus, which, at the time of its discovery, was not widely known. When first identified, we tested hypotheses for influenza virus (including the 1918 Spanish form), coronavirus SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) or even bird flu. After all, it became obvious that this was a new type of coronavirus.
This new coronavirus is named SARS-CoV-2, or 2019-nCoV, but the name most commonly used in the media is COVID-19. Within a few weeks of the first case, the structure of the new strain was identified, which received the name Wuhan, after the city where it was first identified.
The epidemic has become, very quickly, a topic of interest to the whole world. The first case of infestation with the new coronavirus was in China. One patient presented to the hospital with bad conditions: fever, chills and muscle aches. He was diagnosed with the cold, but later the symptoms worsened, and the analysis confirmed that the cold was actually something else: a new form of coronavirus, which had not been identified in humans until that time.
Coronavirus infection has become a concern because there is not yet a vaccine available (this could only occur in the coming months). Moreover, if the disease is not treated, it can be fatal. The most vulnerable people are the elderly, who have serious prior illnesses. The good news is that the risk of infection with this virus could decrease, if a few simple measures of hygiene and behavior are observed.
However, according to the World Health Organization, the new coronavirus has a higher mortality rate (3.4%) than seasonal flu (below 1%).

What is the new coronavirus and how dangerous is it?
What is COVID-2019?
The new coronavirus is part of the family of viruses underlying severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS, the causative agent of the 2003 epidemic) and certain types of colds, but should not be confused with these. These are viruses that cause different diseases, from a simple cold to more serious conditions, such as acute respiratory diseases. Viruses of this type generally affect animals, in some cases being transmitted to humans.
According to the data from the beginning of the epidemic, the virus is supposed to have appeared in a fish market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, the place being known as well because illegally produced products are being sold there. On the other hand, not all infected persons were exposed to direct contact with animals during the period prior to the disease. From Wuhan, the virus has spread nationally. Lately we have been witnessing a global spread of the virus.
The medical community does not have enough data on the epidemiology of the new coronavirus. Therefore, so far, not much can be said about the full clinical features of the disease, how it is transmitted from animal to human, nor about the original source of the outbreak.

How dangerous is COVID-2019?
The only way that data on this new coronavirus (incubation period, mortality) could be found was to investigate the cases of infection. According to the World Health Organization, COVID-2019 has the following characteristics:

incubation period is 5-6 days on average, but varies between 0 and 14 days. Some sources even mention 27 days;
in the case of human-to-human transmission, there is a 4.4-7.5 day interval between the onset of symptomatology in the first person and the onset in the infected person;
the mortality rate in China is 2.3%;
the real mortality rate globally, if we take into account the fact that there are also mild cases that do not show up to the doctor, is estimated between 0.3-1%;
On average, a patient can infect between 1.4-2.5 persons.
Concern now exists that the number of deaths caused by COVID-2019 is higher than the mortality rate of viruses that caused the MERS and SARS outbreaks. In fact, COVID-2019 appears to have similar characteristics to the 2003 SARS virus. The new coronavirus can cause mild symptoms, similar to a cold or even flu, but also severe diseases such as pneumonia.

According to the National Center for Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases, the pneumonia produced by the new coronavirus is an acute respiratory disease, the clinical spectrum of which is not fully known. The symptoms of this type of pneumonia are known:
fever (at least 38 degrees Celsius);
cough;
respiratory difficulties (in more severe cases).
In fact, it was pneumonia that was first detected in Wuhan City and later spread to three other provinces in China: Guangdong Sheng, Beijing Shi and Shanghai Shi.
It is not pneumonia that is causing problems for doctors and researchers, but the transmission of the virus from human to human. Also, the source of the infection is not known, it could still be active. There is not enough epidemiological information to determine the magnitude of this epidemic.
According to experts at the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, there is a moderate likelihood of infection with the new coronavirus for Europeans visiting China.

What do you need to know about the new coronavirus?
How is the new coronavirus transmitted?
Initially, COVID-19 was an infection that was transmitted from animal to human. Subsequently, the infection spread from man to man. Human transmission is the most important in terms of virus dissemination. It is necessary to know the transmission methods to stop the infection with COVID-2019.
In the case of the new coronavirus, transmission is predominantly aerial. Patients can infect other people through fluid drops coughed, sneezed, spoken which may come into contact with the hands, nasal or oral mucosa of healthy people.
Thus, the virus is transmitted through direct contact, through respiratory secretions eliminated by coughing or sneezing, or by reaching contaminated surfaces. What is still unknown about him is how long he survives on surfaces.
Which age category is most affected?
The infection with the new coronavirus COVID-2019 is widespread in the age category 30-70 years. The degree of contagiousness is maximum because these people are the most active, coming into frequent contact with a large number of people.
Does the new coronavirus affect children?
Because this is a new virus, not much is known about how it affects children or pregnant women. What is certain is that the virus can be contacted by anyone, regardless of age or sex. Globally, the death rate for children is very low (1%), but this is not a reason to disregard preventive measures.
Can pregnant women transmit the new coronavirus to the fetus?
There is insufficient data to determine whether the virus can be transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy, or what the impact of the new coronavirus is on the baby. Although the pregnant women included in the study had symptoms characteristic of pneumonia, including fever, myalgia, and cough, intrauterine transmission of infection to the fetus has not been demonstrated. Also, nine women who were born by caesarean section were monitored, but the newborns had no health problems, and the virus was not identified in the amniotic fluid, airways or breast milk.
However, pregnant women are advised to take the usual precautionary measures regarding prevention. Also, if you have symptoms of colds in pregnancy, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, it is recommended to consult a doctor immediately.

Can the new coronavirus be transmitted through breast milk?
As for breastfeeding, here are two different aspects to consider. On the one hand, the benefits of breastfeeding and the insignificant role of breast milk in transmitting respiratory viruses are known. From this point of view, the mother can continue to breastfeed, not milk is the means by which the baby can be infected.
On the other hand, additional precautionary measures must be taken, given that there is a risk of transmission of the virus from mother to child through respiratory secretions and direct / indirect contact through contaminated surfaces. Therefore, it is best to wear a mask during breastfeeding and also remember to wash your hands before and after breastfeeding, as well as disinfect contaminated surfaces.
In the case of mothers who are already infected with the new coronavirus, they should pump the breast milk and administer it to the baby through a teaspoon and clean cups, following all measures to prevent infection.
Does the new coronavirus affect the elderly?
The new coronavirus has proven fatal in rare cases. However, deaths were reported among the elderly, who had previous medical conditions. People with severe chronic illness seem to be most vulnerable to complications. Pre-existing conditions include:
high blood pressure;
other cardiovascular diseases;
diabetes;
liver disorders;
various respiratory diseases.
Can pets transmit the new coronavirus?
So far, there is no evidence that pets can be infected with the new coronavirus. Even so, prevention against the new coronavirus means hand washing with soap and water after contact with pets.

Is wearing a medical mask required?
If you already have respiratory symptoms, such as coughing or sneezing, it is advisable to wear a medical mask to protect others. However, the mask must be used and worn properly, otherwise its effectiveness is not assured and increases the risk of transmission of the virus.
You also need to know that simply wearing a mask is not enough to stop the infection. All other personal hygiene measures must be applied: frequent washing on hands with soap and water, avoiding touching the face area, covering the mouth in case of sneezing or coughing, avoiding direct contact with people who have symptoms of cold or flu (cough, sneezing, fever ).
If you do not have these symptoms, wearing a mask is not necessary. Also, it is not necessary to use protective masks over each other.
How do I proceed if a family member has symptoms of coronavirus infection?
You should consult a doctor as soon as symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing occur. You should also inform your doctor if you have recently traveled to a region where cases of infection with the new coronavirus have been reported, or if you have come in contact with anyone who has traveled to such area and who has symptoms. specific.
What do I do with "made in China" products?
Products made in China or packages sent from China are not dangerous. The World Health Organization reported that people receiving packages from China are not at any risk of becoming infected with the new coronavirus, because it does not live long on surfaces. From the data that exists up to this time, there is no evidence that the products / objects produced in China can transmit the new coronavirus.
When should you call 112?
The incubation period of the new coronavirus is between 1 and 14 days. If you have just returned from a trip to China or an affected European area for less than 14 days, or have you come in contact with people who have recently returned from China or from European quarantined areas for less than 14 days? and if you have a fever, cough, have difficulty breathing, muscle aches and fatigue, call 112. Immediately wear a protective mask if you come in contact with others, use disposable napkins and wash your hands properly and properly.

What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?
Very briefly, the usual symptoms in case of infection with coronavirus are: fever, cough and dyspnea. In more severe cases, the infection can lead to pneumonia or difficulty breathing. In some cases, the disease can be fatal.
Thus, the coronavirus starts as a simple cold which mainly affects the airways. Most often, these symptoms occur within 2-14 days of exposure.
Symptoms are known: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, runny nose, headache or neck. This is a general bad state. In the elderly, infants and persons with a low immune system, coronavirus can lead to pneumonia or bronchitis.
What are the causes of the new coronavirus?
The coronavirus outbreak began in December 2019 in the center of a Chinese city, when a group of people suffering from pneumonia with unknown causes appeared. Subsequently, Chinese scientists isolated a new coronavirus, because existing vaccines and treatments did not appear to be effective in infected people. The transmission rate climbed to the middle of January 2020.
But the epidemic with the new coronavirus is based on the spread of aerosol drops expelled when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. It can infect people in the immediate vicinity, or contaminate surfaces (door handles, railings). Coronavirus drops can remain suspended in the air for a short time, but on metal, glass or plastic surfaces can be active for up to nine days. Therefore, it is recommended to disinfect surfaces.
How is the new coronavirus treated?
Currently, there is no vaccine available for the new coronavirus and it will take time until it is available. Most of the symptoms can be treated, provided the patient presents to the specialist doctor on time.
It is important to know that you should not take antiviral drugs or antibiotics unless you are prescribed by your doctor after a consultation.
There is currently no scientific research to show that antiviral drugs can prevent infection with the new coronavirus. As for antibiotics, it is known that they only affect the bacteria and not the viruses. The new coronavirus is a virus, so antibiotics are not used as a prevention or even a treatment. The only case where the antibiotic is recommended is the one in which a bacterial infection is detected. Only the doctor determines this.
Until the 2000s, only four viruses in the coronavirus family were known to be transmissible to humans. All four caused mild symptoms.
Things changed fundamentally in the early 2000s, with the emergence of a fifth member of the coronavirus family: Acute Severe Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). This virus resulted in the death of 774 people globally in the period 2002-2003. In 2012 came another virus, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which caused over 850 deaths in 2012. Here we are now in the midst of an epidemic with a new coronavirus and we still do not know what we are facing. and how many victims will be in the end.
What we need to understand is that humanity will face new and potentially dangerous viruses in the future. Their occurrence will be accelerated by phenomena such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, deforestation or melting of permafrost.

How can you prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization, the most effective method for reducing the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections and prevention of the new coronavirus is to comply with minimum hygiene measures:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, at least 20 seconds, insisting especially on the area between your fingers. If the soap is out of reach, you can use a hand sanitizer, alcohol-based at least 60%. It is mandatory to disinfect with alcohol after direct contact with sick people, their environment, or even after shaking hands with someone. Hand washing removes the virus, so do not forget to wash / disinfect your hands in the following cases:
after you cough or sneeze;
when caring for a sick person;
before, during and after food preparation;
before eating;
before and after using the toilet;
after you have touched or played with an animal;
after you take the garbage.

How to disinfect your hands?
Respect the label of the cough, ie keep the distance, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. For this you can use either a disposable handkerchief or the bend of the elbow.
Don't touch your face with your hand. The virus is transmitted mainly through the respiratory tract, but can enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid touching if you have not washed your hands very well. In fact, the hands are the ones that come in contact with the surfaces most quickly infected by the virus, after which it spreads throughout the body.
Cleans / disinfects surfaces with chemicals that can kill the new coronavirus. They should contain chlorine, bleachers, solvent, 75% ethanol, paracetic acid and chloroform. If you do not know what products to buy, ask a doctor or pharmacist.
Avoid direct contact with anyone who has symptoms of cold or flu. Keep at least one meter away from yourself and other people, especially when they cough, sneeze or have a fever. Saliva drops can transmit the virus from a very small distance.
Seek early medical attention if you have a fever, cough or wheezing. Also, don't forget to tell your doctor your previous travel history.
In case of aggravation of symptoms, call the doctor or save at home.
Cook meat and eggs in accordance with all food safety practices. It also avoids the consumption of raw products. Vegetables and fruits should be handled with care to avoid cross-contamination with foodstuffs that are denied.
If you visit markets in areas where there are confirmed cases of coronavirus, avoid direct contact with animals.
If you are suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus or if you are helping people who have already been infected, use a medical mask.

How do you protect yourself from coronavirus if you are traveling to China?
Representatives of the National Center for Communicable Disease Surveillance and Control have issued a series of recommendations to people intending to travel to one of the 4 provinces in China where infections with the new coronavirus are confirmed:
Avoid visiting the "wet markets" or places where living or dead animals are handled;
Avoid contact with sick people, especially people with respiratory symptoms;
Respects good hand and food hygiene;
If you have recently returned from China and have the following symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath, use a protective mask and call 112 to be taken as soon as possible to an infectious disease hospital. Mention the travel history of the infectious physician.
Also, as a result of the intense epidemic influenza activity in China, people who wish to travel to China are recommended to be vaccinated against the flu at least 2 weeks before departure to prevent severe respiratory illness.
The World Health Organization announced that the risk of coronavirus spread globally is "very high", which is the highest level the organization can declare. One of the reasons behind this alert is the increase in the number of cases and countries affected.
Even so, the international organization believes that the epidemic with the new coronavirus has not reached the level of a pandemic, as long as the affected countries are fighting against the new virus. If the pandemic were declared, it would mean accepting the fact that every person on the planet will be exposed to the virus. There is still no talk of a global spread of the virus or widespread deaths among the population. Humanity is still in the stage of isolated epidemics, the World Health Organization emphasizes, and the word of order these days seems to be prevention.

13.03.2020