Updated: Mar 3
It’s hard to avoid news of the recent outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, better known as Coronavirus. However, the risk for the American public remains low, mainly because the virus does not easily spread from person to person. Dr. Alamelu on some things you need to know about the virus.
What do we know so far?
We only have five known cases of the coronavirus so far in the United States, with less than 100 other possible cases under investigation. In most cases, the infected patients had recently traveled or had direct contact with someone in the Wuhan, China, where the outbreak started. The CDC maintains that the risk to Americans is low due as the virus seems to be able to spread from person-to-person although it’s not clear how easily this happens.
How did the coronavirus start?
It’s suspected the first human case of 2019 novel coronavirus was contracted through contact with an infected animal, but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person.
What are the symptoms and how can they be treated?
Symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to that of the common flu: runny nose, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever and in some circumstances a headache that lasts more than a day. In most cases the virus is not deadly, and these symptoms will go away on their own. Treatment is similar to the flu; patients are advised to drink plenty of fluids and prioritize getting lots of sleep. Symptoms can also be treated with fever and pain medication. Those with a weakened immune system are most at risk. The coronavirus can lead to more serious respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
Anyone who presents these symptoms, even if they haven’t been exposed to the coronavirus, should consult a physician.
How can I protect myself from getting the virus?
The chances of contracting the 2019 novel coronavirus in the U.S. through human contact are low, but preventative measures can still be taken to limit the risk of contracting this or any virus. This includes washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching your eyes, nose or mouth (or using alcohol based sanitizer if soap and water are not available), getting a flu shot, disinfecting surfaces frequently and staying at least three feet away from someone showing symptoms.
More information about the coronavirus can be found at on the CDC website.