With an alarming rate of people getting infected by the virus, it is important to know more about Coronavirus and how to protect yourself from it.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that causes illness. It ranges from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). It is identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.
How is it transmitted and passed?
Coronaviruses are zoonotic which means that the viruses are being transmitted through animals and people. When in close contact with someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, there is a chance of getting infected. This happens as when they cough or sneeze, small droplets spreads then spreading the virus.
How can I protect myself?
Below are some standard tips you can take to reduce the risk of infection and spread:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 25 seconds. Should they be unavailble, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- Wear a mask when going out, this protects you from getting infected and protects you from spreading should you be infected. Click here to find out the proper way to wear a mask.
- Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Practice social distancing: Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from others to decrease chances of the virus transmitting to you.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
What are the symptoms?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from none at all to mild to severe breathing difficulty.
The most common symptoms are fever and cough, while shortness of breath is rare but indicates a more serious form of the illness. Please click here for more information. There have also been reports of patients losing sense of smell and taste during the course of a COVID-19 infection, though it is not part of the recommended testing criteria.
Symptoms may appear between 2 to 14 days after exposure. Some cases of the novel coronavirus are asymptomatic, presymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.
When should I be tested?
Seek medical care early if you have symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Let your doctor know if you have travelled or if you have been in close contact with someone who has travelled or been affected by the disease.
People over the age of 65, those who are pregnant, or on medications that weaken the immune system (such as chemotherapy or immunomodulators) are at higher risk of infection and complications of infection. If you fall into one of these categories, we recommend that you keep enough supplies at home to reduce unnecessary trips into public, avoid crowds, and avoid unnecessary travel.
Is there a cure? What are the treatment?
To date, there are no specific vaccines or medicines for COVID-19.
As with the flu and the common cold, there is no cure for COVID-19. While certain antiviral drugs can sometimes limit the duration and severity of the flu, those drugs have not been shown to help with COVID-19.
Instead, as it does with the cold and flu, treatment typically focuses on easing symptoms by resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and using over-the-counter pain relievers for fever or accompanying discomfort.
Note: Seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection such as fever, coughing and fatigue. Talk to your doctor. You may consult a doctor via video conference on our platform for medical advice. If the doctor suspects an infection and orders for a test, the Kent Ridge Health care team will assist to coordinate the next steps, including calling for an ambulance to transport you from where you are to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) to get tested. If the doctor assesses that your symptoms are not suspicious, medication can be prescribed to ease your symptoms, and will be delivered to your home.
If you develop any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately, call an ambulance: Trouble breathing, pain or pressure in chest, New confusion or inability to arouse, Bluish lips or face (This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.)