Information Regarding COVID 19

Updated on 12/6/2020

Background Information

The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Corona Virus was first identified in 1965 in a boy but several similar viruses were subsequently isolated from a variety of other animals including mice, rats, chickens, turkeys, cattle, dogs, cats, rabbits and pigs. 

The viruses may have initially been spread by the Chinese horseshoe bat or palm civet but the virus showed an incredible ability to adapt to other hosts

The SARS virus

The first major human outbreak of the SARS variant occurred in 2002 in China and spread world wide.  With a rapid, intense global control program initiated by the World Health Organization, transmission ceased by July 2003.  There was very limited human to human spread since the last epidemic in 2002-2003

How the virus is transmitted

The latest outbreak is with a novel corona virus that originated in China in the Wuhan Province in an open air market.  Infected animals may excrete the virus in their feces which may infect other animals or people. Virus’ abiltiy to mutate allows it to infect other species.  

This may have been how the first humans got infected.   However, it is believed that the primary mode of transmission of the virus, in humans, occurs from contact with virus laden droplets or picking up viruses deposited on objects such as door handles, counter tops, pens, etc.  The virus can remain on these objects for 12 or more hours

Corona Virus Symptoms

Once the virus enters the body, typically by direct self-transmission to the mouth, nose or eyes, it attaches to the cells of respiratory tract.  As a single-stranded RNA virus, it quickly converts the cytoplasm of the cell into a viral manufacturing plant. 

Although it typically takes about 2-4 days (incubation period) to develop enough virus to cause symptoms, it could take as long as 10-14 days.  The infected cells allow completed viral particles to bud off the membrane or the cell may rupture sending thousands of particles throughout the body

Initial symptoms

The initial symptoms usually include fatigue, headache, sore throat, chills, and fever.  The lung is the major focus of the virus and cough (non-productive/dry) and shortness of breath often occur a few days to a week later. 

The virus typically DOES NOT cause running nose or thick sinus drainage.  The peak of symptoms generally occurs about 3-4 days after infection and it is the time of greatest viral shedding.  Viral shedding can continue into the second and third week of the illness

The immune system begins its antibody response within 10 days and it may last for months after the illness is cleared.  However, the antibody response does not appear to as robust as with other viruses so reinfection is a risk

Treatment Options

There is no specific treatment for the virus and the vast majority, of those infected, recover within 2 weeks. Hospitalization is reserved for those with life-threatening complications. 

Those at greatest risk for these complications are those over 60 with other illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, emphysema, asthma, kidney disease or immune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, history of transplant, chronic steroid use, etc)

To reduce the risk of infection practice the following Healthy Habits:

Social distancing: Do not mingle in crowds and stay 6-10 feet away from other people (Droplets from coughs or sneezing usual fall to the ground within 10 feet.)

Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to remove viral particles inadvertently picked up by touching contaminated surfaces

DO NOT TOUCH YOUR MOUTH, NOSE OR EYES unless you have washed your hands

Regularly clean surfaces, that could become contaminated, with antiviral products (generally containing at least a 60% alcohol solution). UV light is a great way to disinfect surfaces. Apply the light for 30 secs. Be careful, as UV light is harmful to the skin and eyes. Walmart has a UV wand that you can use at a reasonable price (about $20).
Keep membranes of the mouth moist by frequently taking small sips of liquid to clear this area of viral particles flushing them into the acid of the stomach

Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues and dispose of those promptly

If you develop symptoms, stay away from other people (self quarantine) so as not to spread the virus to them

If you believe you have been infected and need medical attention, call your doctor, health department or emergency room.  DO NOT JUST SHOW UP THERE.  They will give you instructions to prevent spread to others in the waiting room and arrange for testing

As there is no definitive treatment for corona virus at this time, you can treat the symptoms as you would a cold with rest, fluids (especially warm fluids), Acetominphen or similar for fever, cough medicine, soup, etc.  Symptoms should improve within 10-14 days

If you are the caregiver for another person, have someone else provide care or reduce contact.  Wear a mask and gloves to reduce viral shedding.  Be sure to wash your hands as above after removing and disposing of the mask and gloves

If you are providing care to someone who may be infected, both you and they should wear a mask and you should wear gloves when entering the room and wash your hands  afterward.  Routine dish soap and laundry detergent should clear the virus from dishes and clothes

When removing your gloves, pull down from the wrist turning the glove inside out to trap virus on the inner part of the removed glove

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