COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease that is spread from infected persons through direct contact with fluids from coughs, sneezes or contaminated object and articles. It has been declared a pandemic by WHO since it has affected many countries in the world including Kenya.
Its structure has spikes that protrude from its membrane just like the sun’s corona hence the name coronavirus.
Where Did The Outbreak Begin?
The patient zero can be traced at the heart of China in a live seafood, wild animal, and poultry market in a city called Wuhan.
The exact source of the virus is not yet established. However, WHO suspects that an animal source is the most likely cause of the outbreak. This is especially given that various wildlife, including reptiles, are illegally traded in the Wuhan food market.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms?
The most common symptoms of COVID 19 are:
- High fever
- Difficulty in breathing
- Dry cough.
Other symptoms may include:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Muscles and joint pains
- Loss of taste or smell
Severe cases of coronavirus can lead to SARS, kidney failure, pneumonia, and even death. These symptoms take 2-14 days to manifest.
These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but neither show any symptoms nor feel unwell.
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty in breathing.
Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty in
breathing should seek medical attention.
How is COVID-19 Spread?
The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes.
These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then contract COVID-19 by
touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
People can also contract COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or
sneezes droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
How To Protect Yourself & Others
Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Make sure you and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid travelling to places – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.
What Should I Do if I Suspect I Have COVID-19
Follow the guidance outlined above (How to Protect Yourself and Others). Self-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache, low-grade fever and slight runny nose, until you recover.
If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travellers.