An infection can cause pneumonia by spreading to the lower respiratory tract
News of strange, unheard-of viruses surfacing is not new over the last few decades. We’ve had our share of scares in India too with Sars, Nipah, Ebola and the like.
The Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, is a new virus that is said to have started in Wuhan, China. It is the cousin of the more popular Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus (outbreak in Southern China, 2002) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus (outbreak in Saudi Arabia, 2012). Senior Citizens need to be particularly careful especially those with heart conditions and weakened immune systems especially since the coronavirus infection can cause pneumonia by spreading to the lower respiratory tract.
The virus is reported to have originated in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China. The virus first appeared last month (December 2019) and now threatens to become a global epidemic. At the end of December, public health officials from China reported the World Health Organisation: an unknown, new virus causing pneumonia-like illness in the city of Wuhan.
Coronaviruses mostly affect animals and do not spread to human beings. However, there are seven strains of this virus – 2019-nCoV being the seventh, which can affect humans. It is not clear from which animal the virus originated from. Based on the genetic code of the virus, one team of researchers in China published a report that it may have come from snakes. However, scientists are skeptical of the conclusion. Another analysis found that the genetic sequence of 2019-nCoV is 96% identical to SARS and MERS that originated in bats. Hence like other coronaviruses (SARS & MERS) — Novel coronavirus can only jump between people who come in close contact with each other, and is highly contagious.
The symptoms of 2019-nCoV are very much similar to upper respiratory infection.
- Runny Nose
- Sore throat
Here is what you can do to prevent yourself from these viruses. You can treat a coronavirus infection the same way you treat a cold.
- Keep your hands clean. Wash them regularly with soap and warm water. You may keep a hand sanitizer handy.
- Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Refrain being around people with a respiratory infection.
- Food Safety is a must. Keep separate knives and chopping boards for raw meat and vegetables. Wash vegetables thoroughly before using them.
- Take ample rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- To help ease a sore and scratchy throat, use a humidifier or have a steamy shower.
As the epidemic of Coronavirus rises globally, India confirms its first 2019-nCoV case. The patient is from Kerala and a student at Wuhan University.
Seniors to take extra caution and preventive measures.
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