What is a coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that circulates among animals. Some types of coronaviruses can also affect people, causing respiratory infections, such as the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
In 80% of cases, the symptoms are mild and can be confused with those of a flu:
- General malaise or fatigue
- Dry cough
These symptoms may appear gradually accompanied by nasal congestion or sore throat. Moderate cases may be accompanied by a feeling of shortness of breath and, in the most severe, the infection causes more severe complications, such as pneumonia.
According to current data, there are people who have become infected but have not developed any symptoms or are ill. Although in most cases the symptoms are mild, some people, with a more severe prognosis, have died.
Who is affected?
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can infect anyone, regardless of their age. Even so, two groups with greater risk have been detected:
- Elderly people.
- Patients with pre-existing chronic ailments (cardiovascular, pulmonary, cardiac or diabetes) or with immunity problems.
The risk of infection is higher in those areas where there are cases of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus diagnosed. Therefore, everyone needs to take protective measures, such as maintaining good hand hygiene or covering their mouths with their elbows or with a tissue when coughing.
How is it spread?
Studies conducted so far suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is transmitted by air, from person to person, through droplets from the nose or mouth that are spread when an infected person coughs or exhales. Contagion occurs when these droplets are exhaled by a healthy person or when they fall on an object or surface that the person subsequently touches and then, without disinfecting the hands, touches the eyes, nose or mouth.
Between infection with the virus and the appearance of the first symptoms of the ailment, it is estimated that there may be an incubation period of between one and fourteen days. On average it is estimated that this is five days.
The diagnosis is made through a specific COVID-19 detection test.
Currently, there is no specific treatment for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, only supportive treatment. In milder cases, the treatment is similar to the flu: pain relievers to control fever and stay properly hydrated.
In the most severe cases, if the patient requires ventilatory support, due to pneumonia or respiratory failure, the patient is admitted to the ICU.
In addition, clinical trials are being conducted to find a specific vaccine or drug treatment to predict or treat COVID-19.
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