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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Your questions answered

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Your questions answered

As we adjust to a new normal and try to make sense of how to move forward during this global pandemic, it is advisable to be informed and up to date on current news pertaining to COVID-19.  Being informed helps us make smarter decisions for ourselves and our loved ones to keep safe and healthy while creating new routines to bring stability to our lives. Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions which hopefully will answer some of your COVID-19 related queries.

Where does the name Corona come from?

It is an umbrella term applied to a number of viruses. It was originally called the novel corona virus because this is a new strain of the virus. It is different to the corona viruses that normally circulate among humans causing mild illnesses such as the common cold.

This current pandemic receives its name COVID-19 as it is a new strain. The breakdown of the name is as follows.

CO – Corona

VI – Virus

D - Disease

19 – 2019

How long do you have to be with someone to be infected with the virus?

The longer you are with someone who is infected then of course the likelier the chances of getting infected yourself. Getting infected depends more on the closeness of the contact and not really on the duration. There are cases of asymptomatic people who though infected show no symptoms at all, which is why social distancing is important.

Why is COVID -19 spreading so fast?

It is a respiratory virus, highly contagious because it takes a few days for the symptoms to appear and therefore can be passed on, unknowingly. Further, some people do not show symptoms at all and so are not tested. Again, these people too unknowingly pass on the virus to others. As this is a new virus a lot of work still has to be done to understand how it transmits from person to person.

What are the main symptoms of the virus?

The main symptoms to look out for are a high temperature above 37.80 C and or a new continuous cough. Other symptoms can include tiredness, shortness of breath, aches and pains, sore throat with very few people reporting diarrhoea, nausea, or a runny nose. Some even report the loss of taste and smell.   

What should I do if I feel as though I am developing symptoms?

As soon as you feel as though you could be having the virus symptoms, isolate yourself for 7 days. Most people experience mild symptoms which can be easily managed at home and there are many reputed online resources that can guide you on what to do. If, however, your symptoms get worse then contact medical authorities using the guidelines stipulated. Everyone who came into contact with you should immediately isolate themselves for 14 days or if advised to do so, quarantine at one of the quarantine centres in the island.

What is the recovery process like?

The road to recovery for each person will differ, and largely depends upon how severely they were affected by the virus and their general health. Most people will only suffer with mild symptoms and these people can be expected to make a full recovery withing a few weeks, though they may have the cough for some time after recovery.

However, people with more severe symptoms and who require a ventilator in hospital, will take longer to recover, sometime even months to fully recover. Even then they may notice lingering tiredness. According to reports it can take anywhere between 12 to 18 months for anyone who has been in intensive care and on a ventilator to recover from the disease.

Another after effect can be mental fatigue. Anyone recovering should give themselves time, listen to their bodies and not expect anything too soon but take the necessary time to recover.

How can I keep my family healthy at home?

Number one is maintaining stipulated social distancing guidelines. Further, it is very important to ensure that all of you eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Try and base meals around high in fibre and carbohydrates foods and include lots of fruits and vegetable. It would be good to include at least 150 minutes of exercise a week including some strength exercises. Make use of free online resources to get ideas regarding family activities you can do together. Make sure everyone gets plenty of sleep and that you all support each other for a calm environment and a peaceful mindset.

What is the difference between self-isolation and social distancing?

Both are effective ways to keep you and your family safe, while slowing down the spread of the Corona virus. Social distancing means limiting face to face contact with other people as much as possible. Wherever possible use online services to reduce direct contact with other people. Those with underlying health conditions, pregnant ladies and people over 75 years of age should be especially vigilant in following social distancing measures.

Self-isolation is when you or a member of your family shows symptoms related to COVD-19. If this happens you should self-isolate, which means staying in your home or a quarantine centre for 14 days, after informing the relevant authorities.

Is wearing a face mask good protection?

Social distancing, good hand hygiene and healthy respiratory habits are the best methods to curtailing the spread of the Corona virus. Healthy respiratory habits include using disposable tissues to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. After that it is important to throw the used tissue into a bin and immediately wash your hands thoroughly. Wearing face masks do have some benefits if you are in an enclosed space where keeping the required social distance is difficult. This includes situations including travelling by public transport, in shops or in offices.

Be sure to wash your hands well before touching the face mask and always throw disposable masks into a bin after usage. If the mask is reusable, then after each use wash it well with 600c water.

Will a vaccine be available soon for COVID 19?

Currently work to develop a vaccine is taking place at a rapid pace. There are more than 80 groups around the world researching for potential vaccines, with some of the more promising ones already starting to undergo initial testing.

However, even if one of these potential vaccines shows positive towards being a successful vaccine, it is not believed that a global scale vaccine will be manufactured till the second half of 2021.  Until such time a successful vaccine is manufactured and administered on a global scale, some kind of social distancing will have to continue to curtail the spread of the virus. 

Where can I get COVID related updates from?

It is always advisable to get your information from reputed websites and sources, such as Government websites or the WHO website.

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