What you need to know about COVID-19

Posted on April 24, 2020 | 2 minute read

Within a few weeks, many things have changed around us because of COVID-19. Most cities are now living under lockdown and restricted movements, some are working from home, and people are staying away from each other when going out. With numerous active cases all over the world, now is the time to spread the word on how to prevent being infected or infecting others. It is important to keep yourself informed, prepared, and updated, and to follow guidelines to reduce your risk of infection.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the new infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Coronavirus, on the other hand, is a large family of viruses that causes the common cold, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) among others. The COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and has now spread to almost all countries.

When a person with COVID-19 sneezes or coughs, small droplets from their nose or mouth are dispersed into the air and may be inhaled by people nearby. They may also land in the mouths or noses of people who are too close, or they can settle on surfaces which may be touched by other people. Although studies are still being conducted to prove this transmission, it’s best to maintain social distancing and to wash hands regularly for minimized risk.

Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 cases vary around the world, but common symptoms include:

  • fever
  • muscle pain
  • cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • chills
  • loss of taste or smell
  • headache
  • sore throat

In some cases, people with COVID-19 may also experience diarrhea and nasal congestion.

What to do if you are infected

If you observe mild symptoms, here are the recommended steps to follow:

  • Stay at home and self-isolate first 
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Eat nutritious food to stay healthy
  • If possible, stay and eat (or be fed) in a separate room
  • Wear a mask if you need to interact with the people around you
  • Seek advice from your local medical provider for the best steps to take depending on your situation 

However, if you experience difficulty breathing, fever, and cough, contact your doctor or your local health provider immediately. You may also contact the Philippines Department of Health by dialing their hotline at 02-894-COVID or 02-894-26843 .

How to Prevent COVID-19

While clinical trials are still being conducted to find a vaccine against COVID-19, here are some tips from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce your risk of getting infected:

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly using soap and water or use alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose the used tissue properly.
  • Practice social distancing (at least 3 feet) if you need to go out as some people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic (no symptoms)
  • Stay away from crowds or large groups of people

If you have a family member infected with COVID-19, here are ways to help prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Disinfect surfaces and other frequently touched objects with soap and water
  • Use gloves when handling their used dishes, glasses, and cups
  • Use a separate trash can for the sick family member. Use gloves when disposing the garbage bags and wash your hands after

Common COVID-19 Myths

Research and clinical trials are being conducted to help find a vaccine against COVID-19 but no drug or antiviral medicine has been proven to cure it. There are medicines that can help relieve the symptoms for those who are affected, too. However, some people believe that spraying alcohol or chlorine all over the body can kill the virus. This practice has been debunked by WHO, along with other myths below:

  • Sun exposure: People in countries with hot weather can still be infected by COVID-19, likewise in areas with cold weather and snow.
  • Alcohol intake: Ingesting alcohol does not kill the virus. This may only increase your risk of other health problems.
  • Pneumonia vaccine: This vaccine is only helpful to reduce your risk of respiratory symptoms but does not guarantee protection against COVID-19.
  • Rinsing of the nose with saline: If you have a common cold, rinsing your nose with saline may help with decongestion. However, there is no evidence to prove that it can fight against COVID-19.
  • Garlic: No evidence has been found to prove that eating garlic can protect people from COVID-19, but it has antimicrobial properties that are good for our health.
  • Only older people are susceptible: COVID-19 knows no age. You may be affected however old or young you are although, older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are usually more vulnerable to presenting more severe symptoms.

As the situation continues to evolve, one thing’s for sure–we can all do our part to flatten the curve by doing our best to avoid interacting with other people as much as possible. This will not only prevent us from getting infected, but also stop us from unknowingly spreading the virus to other people.

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