Covid: Surviving the new normal
Ongoing even after 2 years since its discovery, COVID-19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Identified in 2019, it was declared as a pandemic in January 2020 by the WHO. This section gives you information on the COVID-19 infection, diagnosis, and treatment.
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The pandemic has changed the outlook of the world completely. Wearing masks and staying home as much as possible has become the new normal. The COVID-19 disease has claimed the lives of many and still continues to do so. With new strains of coronavirus continuing to pose threats, the COVID-19 infection is spreading like wildfire across the globe. Here’s a brief insight for you to understand what is COVID-19 and how it affects your health.
What is COVID-19?
SARS-CoV-2 is from a family of viruses that cause health problems such as common cold, MERS, and SARS. In December 2019, there was an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China. The WHO identified this as the SARS Cov-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 infection. It affects your upper and lower respiratory tract. It may also lead to health complications in the future.
This makes it essential for you to understand what is COVID-19, its spread, signs, and causes. The transmission of COVID-19 happens via the droplets that leave the body of an infected person. This usually happens when they cough or sneeze. You can prevent the transmission of COVID-19 by maintaining social distance and wearing masks in public places. Frequent washing of hands with soap and water and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers also help prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Different COVID-19 variants
A variant of virus is identified when it mutates or changes its properties. There are multiple COVID-19 variants that experts have found so far. Some of them are:
COVID-19 variants are generally classified into 3 categories, which are
- Variant of interest (VOI)
This is a variant that has genetic characteristics with a high probability of transmission. It may also have an increased probability of evasion of diagnosis and immunity.
- Variant of concern (VOC)
A virus under this category is one that is more infectious. It may also cause re-infection in vaccinated people. It also has a higher chance of causing severe health conditions. This variant may be resistant to antiviral treatment and diagnostic tests. Delta and omicron are some COVID-19 variants that come under this category.
- Variant of high consequence (VOHC)
When vaccines do not protect against a variant, it gets classified under this section. Currently, there are no COVID-19 variants under this category.
COVID-19 risk factors
Given below are some COVID-19 risk factors you should keep in mind.
Age, since old age increase the probability of infection
Lifestyle habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption
Comorbidities such as heart conditions, hypertension, diabetes
Coming in close contact with an infected person
Causes of COVID-19
One of the major causes of COVID-19 is the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It triggers a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Apart from this, the spread from one person to another is also a cause of COVID-19 across the world.
Signs & symptoms of COVID-19
The signs & symptoms of COVID-19 vary from one person to another. They may also be experienced with a different severity by different people. Some of the common signs & symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Fever and chills
- Runny nose
- Fatigue or weakness
- Loss of smell and taste
- Sore throat
- Headache, body aches and muscle pain
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Difficulty or shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Altered mental state
If infected, you may also experience other symptoms depending on your health. In asymptomatic cases, you may not show any signs & symptoms of COVID-19.
Get a COVID-19 diagnosis if you show any signs or come in contact with an infected person. If the place you are located in also shows high signs of the infection, you should get tested.
Make sure to contact your doctor immediately if you see any signs or have come in contact of infected person. A timely COVID-19 diagnosis will help you get the best possible treatment.
A COVID-19 diagnosis can be done with either or all of the following modes:
- Antigen tests
- Antibody tests
- Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT PCR) test
COVID-19 treatment & prevention
Following are some COVID-19 treatment & prevention options.
Currently, there isn’t a cure for COVID-19. For at-home treatment, you should keep the following in mind:
Isolate in a ventilated room, using 3-layer masks
Take sufficient rest and drink plenty of fluids
Clean often-touched surfaces with proper disinfectants
Regularly monitor your temperature, oxygen levels, and heart rate
Keep your doctor updated on COVID-19 symptoms and deviations, if any
For medical treatment of the COVID-19 infection, your doctor may use one or a combination of the following:
Antiviral drugs and injections
Ventilation, in serious cases
Fluid from tube to prevent dehydration
Any other approved medication for COVID-19 treatment
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, follow the guideline provided by WHO. They include:
Maintaining social distance and wearing masks
Frequently washing hands and using hand sanitizer
Covering your mouth while sneezing or coughing
Going for immediate isolation upon seeing the signs & symptoms of COVID-19
Now that you have a brief overview of what is COVID-19 and how to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, be safe. Read our articles on COVID-19 risk factors and variants to get key information. Get your RTPCR test done to check if you have the infection. If you are positive, take precautions by isolating yourself so that you do not spread the COVID-19 infection to your loved ones. You can book an RTPCR test as well as other tests with ease on Bajaj Finserv Health. Your test samples will be collected from home, so you can stay indoors. You can also take an online consultation with a top doctor near you to help you fight the infection without leaving home.
o Congestion or runny nose