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Coronavirus: All you need to know

High alert!! Read on to know more about 2019-nCoV and how to protect yourself

Coronavirus: All you need to know

The Coronavirus outbreak, that originated in Wuhan, China and has now entered multiple countries, including India, has had thousands dead and even more infected. Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the virus, its spread and safety tips.

What is the coronavirus and what are its symptoms?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Distress syndrome.

Whenever you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing it's important to seek medical attention promptly. If you or your known has a travel history to China and you have above symptoms 2019-nCoV could be one of the causes. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Where do Coronaviruses come from?

A novel Coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans has been reported from December 31, initially from Wuhan China and is spreading worldwide now. How humans acquired this virus is not confirmed as yet. Some studies indicate that it would have come from bats, others indicate other animals like cats, camels or even snakes.

How does the Coronavirus spread?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic viruses, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Hence, hand hygiene is a very essential component of preventing the infection.

Maintain at least a metre distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.

What is the best way to protect yourself from Coronavirus?

Washing your hands with an antiseptic handwash or santizer is a precaution you must take. Hands come in contact with various surfaces and if we touch that hand on face or bring it close to nose we can acquire the virus. Avoid close contact with anyone coughing and sneezing. Hence, the distance can help your chance of acquiring and avoiding public places. Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.

How dangerous is it?

As with other respiratory illnesses, infection with 2019-nCoV can cause mild symptoms including runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. It can be more severe for some people and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as, diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable.

Can the 2019-nCoV be transmitted from person to person?

Yes, the 2019-nCoV causes respiratory disease and can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household workplace, or health care centre.

According to doctor, the best way to safeguard yourself from a possible case of nCoV is to keep hygiene in mind. Wash your hands and/or sanitise them as frequently as possible. Make sure to maintain a distance from a person who is showing symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, flu etc. Recent cases have shown patients to demonstrate abdominal pain as a symptom. Keep an eye out for this. Check with a medical practitioner immediately in case you find yourself unwell or demonstrating any of the known symptoms.

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