The world is currently in the midst of a pandemic caused by COVID-19, or the coronavirus disease.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease that has been newly identified as resulting from a type of coronavirus known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease can lead to a respiratory tract infection and either affect the upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nose, and throat) or the lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs).
According to John Hopkins Medicine, the disease spreads through droplets that a sick individual releases when they cough or sneeze and that can be sprayed to up to 1.5-2 meters. It can also be contracted by touching a surface that has been contaminated by the sick individual and proceeding to touch one’s mouth, nose, or eyes.
Some of the most common symptoms the infected individuals would display are mild to moderate and do not necessarily require hospitalization, such as fever, dry cough, or tiredness. Nonetheless, infected individuals (particularly those who are elderly, have chronic diseases, or a compromised immune system) might display severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention that include difficulty breathing, chest pain, or loss of speech or movement. That being said, it is essential to keep in mind that some of those infected are asymptomatic and do not experience any symptoms; however, they are still capable to transmitting the disease.
Since there is no approved and mass circulated vaccine yet, prevention is key to protect one’s self, loved ones, and community.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and other renowned organizations and experts in the field emphasize the following precautionary measures to prevent and slow the transmission of COVID-19:
- Wearing a face mask.
- Washing one’s hands regularly with soap and water or cleaning them with alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintaining at least 1.5-2 meter distance between one and people coughing or sneezing.
- Avoiding touching one’s face.
- Covering one’s mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Staying home if one feels unwell or experiences one of the symptoms of the disease.
- Refraining from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
- Practicing physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people and crowded areas.
- Avoiding contact with travelers coming from countries with a massive outbreak of COVID-19 until said individuals have quarantined themselves for a minimum of 2 weeks and presented a negative PCR test.
These simple and effortless measures can go a long way in ensuring the well-being of our families and communities.