Coronavirus also known as the novel coronavirus or COVID 19 has been making headlines on a daily basis since the first human case was identified in December 2019 in Wuhan China. To date, over two million people have tested positive for the disease worldwide, and over 142,624 have died from having contracted coronavirus. More than 539,000 people who have had coronavirus have since recovered.
With daily reports of the coronavirus spreading, and at least over 600 cases and 21 deaths and cases rapidly spreading right here in Nigeria, how worried should you be?
With so much in the news and on social media about coronavirus, there’s clearly an over-abundance of information, some accurate and some not, making it hard for people to find the trustworthy sources and reliable guidelines. “We are not just fighting an epidemic, we are fighting an infodemic” says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
With this in mind, we have curated information from trusted centers on what every worried parent should know about the infection also known as COVID-19
What is coronavirus?
The World Health Organization WHO describes coronavirus as ‘a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)’.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus”. It is a new strain of Coronaviruses that are common in animals. but can be transmitted between animals and people. People who get infected with these viruses which may then spread to other people say WHO. The virus is now transmissible from human to human
It was first reported to WHO on the 31st of December, 2019 in Wuhan, China.
However, the first case in Nigeria was confirmed on Friday, February 27, 2020, in Lagos in a business Italian traveler who arrived Nigeria on February 25, 2020, and became symptomatic on February 26, 2020, says Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
What is the source of coronavirus?
According to WHO, the source of COVID-19 is currently unknown. However, studies show that it has a natural animal origin and is not a constructed virus.
How can coronavirus be transmitted?
WHO asserts that “The virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted mainly through the following ways;
• Droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces.
• You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within 1 meter of a person who has COVID-19,
• By touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.
What are the signs and symptoms of coronavirus?
Based on several reports the COVID 19 symptoms are likened to that of Cold and flu. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 as stated by WHO are;
• Dry cough
• Shortness of breath
Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea
Health experts are also reporting that an early sign or symptom of coronavirus is:
• losing your sense of smell or taste.
Also referred to as ‘anosmia’ health experts are finding evidence that a sudden loss of smell (not caused by a blocked nose) or taste could be a coronavirus symptom, too.
A report from ENT UK shared in The Telegraph, said that between 30-60% of coronavirus sufferers experienced this symptom, too.
However, experts now say that people are likely to be infectious before symptoms appear. It’s thought the incubation period is anywhere between one and 14 days. Elderly people and those with underlying chronic health conditions are considered most at risk.
What’s the treatment for coronavirus?
According to the WHO, ‘oxygen therapy is the major treatment intervention for patients with severe COVID-19.’
As it’s relatively unknown and has evolved so quickly, there’s no specific cure for coronavirus, yet.
Who should self-isolate for coronavirus?
According to netmums, “If you are having symptoms, such as a cough or fever (even if they’re mild), the government is advising that you self-isolate completely for seven days.
If you live with other people, they need to self-isolate for 14 days from the first day you became ill. That’s because it could take time for their symptoms to appear.
You should also self-isolate if you’re in one of the high-risk groups identified by the National Health Service UK NHS. This includes people who:
• have had an organ transplant
• are having certain types of cancer treatment
• have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
• have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
• have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
• are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
• are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
How can parents protect their children from coronavirus?
Now that cases of Coronavirus are spreading rapidly in Nigeria, it’s only natural to worry about what to do and how to protect your children from catching it.
The most important thing is to follow the government’s advice about social distancing and stay at home as much as possible.
However, parents are advised to practice strict good hygiene and most especially good hand hygiene for both yourself and your children.
To reduce the risk of infection or spread of COVID-19, members of the public are advised by NCDC to adhere to the following hand and respiratory hygiene measures:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitizers frequently
- Cover your mouth and nose properly with tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing and immediately dispose of the tissue in a covered waste bin. After this, wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
- You may also cough into your elbow if disposable tissue is not available. You are strongly advised not to re-use handkerchiefs
- If you, your child or a family member have persistent high fevers or any difficulty breathing, then they are advised to seek medical advice
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing
- Avoid crowding places, doing so will reduce the risk of you or your child contracting the infection.