It’s more than a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic, but it looks like we are nowhere near beating this virus. As new variants have appeared in countries around the world, it seems like we are still two steps behind. Because of the many false information and myths that are being thrown around surrounding this pandemic, leaders around the world and health workers are still struggling to see an end to this pandemic.
We can do our part to help by doing the most minimal thing that we can do, following health protocols set by the authorities. But even as simple as that, people still find it challenging following it. Let’s review the 5 most common questions about COVID-19.
1. What is COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. People infected with the virus mostly will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without needing special treatment. However, others will experience more, become seriously ill and will need medical attention. These are those who belong to the older population and those immunocompromised or people with underlying medical conditions like chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. They are more likely to develop serious illnesses.
The World Health Organization (WHO) first learned about this virus on December 31, 2019, after a report of clustering of cases of “viral pneumonia” in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China.
2. How is COVID-19 spread?
The Sars-Cov-2 virus spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets that contain the virus. These droplets can be inhaled by other people or land in their eyes, nose and mouth. These can also contaminate surfaces and can be transmitted to another person through touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from someone who is infected could easily get infected.
Ways how the COVID-19 can spread from one person to another:
- Inhaling the air when a person close to you exhales small particles and droplets that has the virus;
- These small droplets and particles with the virus land on your mouth, nose, and eyes, especially through sneezing and coughing;
- Touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands that have the virus on them.
3. What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
A lot of people are saying that COVID-19’s symptoms are like the flu, but it is more than that. People with the virus experience a wide range of symptoms and appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. It is important to know what you should be watching out for and knowing when to seek emergency care. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has listed these symptoms.
The most common symptoms are:
- Dry cough
Other symptoms that may affect or not in some patients include:
- Loss of taste or smell
- Nasal congestion
- Conjunctivitis or red eye
- Sore throat
- Muscle or joint pains
- Different types of skin rashes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Chills or dizziness
For severe infections, the symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath,
- Loss of appetite,
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest,
- High temperature (above 38 °C).
Other less common symptoms that an infected person could have:
- Reduced consciousness (sometimes associated with seizures),
- Sleep disorders,
- More severe and rare neurological complications such as strokes, brain inflammation, delirium, and nerve damage.
When to seek emergency care
Most people don’t know they have underlying medical concerns. Look out for these emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If you or a loved one is showing any of these signs, immediately seek emergency care.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
**Please call your doctor for any other symptoms that are severe or are concerning you.
4. How do I protect myself from COVID-19?
Protecting yourself is a lot easier than you think. Get vaccinated. Having the vaccine is putting a shield of protection over you and your family. Get vaccinated as soon as you can. Check out your local government unit for schedules and procedures.
Here are other ways you can protect yourself from the virus. These are things that you can control and practice in your daily life.
Wear a mask.
In the Philippines, whether you are fully vaccinated or not, wearing a mask is still mandatory. Masks provide an extra layer of protection whenever you are with other people outside your household. The Department of Health (DOH) says that wearing masks may cut transmission rate by 85%.
When inside your home, avoid close contact with people who are sick. If possible, it is best to maintain 6 feet distance between sick family members and other household members.
When outside your home, put 6 feet distance between yourself and people who don’t live with you in the same house. Always keep in mind that there are people without symptoms who may be able to spread the virus. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
Avoid crowds and places with poor ventilation.
Restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters are places that are crowded and do not or may not have proper ventilation. These places put you at higher risk for the virus. If indoors, bring in some fresh air by opening windows and doors if possible.
Wash hands often.
Wash your hands as often as possible with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after you’ve been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol can be used.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean and disinfect.
Clean surfaces that you touch every day like mobile phones, keys, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, tables, and sinks. If someone is sick or has tested positive, disinfect frequently touched places. If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent or soap and water before disinfection.
Boost your immune system and watch your health daily.
- This is something that you have total control over.
- Get enough rest and sleep.
- Eat food that is rich in boosting your immune system.
- Have enough sunlight and exercise regularly. Be alert for symptoms.
5. What can I do if I or someone I know gets sick with COVID-19?
If you think you or someone you know gets sick or have been in close contact with someone who had the virus, follow the following steps to take care of yourself and protect other people in your home and community.
- Stay at home, except for getting medical care.
- Isolate yourself from others.
- Monitor your symptoms.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when around others.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid sharing personal items.
- Clean surfaces in your house daily.
Covid-19 Swab Test
Check out the signs and symptoms if you could need emergency care. In cases where you exhibited the signs on what to look out for for emergency medical care, call your doctor immediately.
We can beat COVID-19. The public needs to be informed and help be vigilant against fake news and myths surrounding the virus and vaccines. Remember that being informed, alert, and involved in the fight against COVID-19 makes us responsible citizens.