COVID-19 is a newly discovered infectious disease caused by Coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses known to cause respiratory infections such as the common cold, SARS, MERS and so on. These viruses can be transmitted between animals and humans. Coronaviruses are named as such due to the crown-like spikes on their surface. The Latin word corona means crown or halo.
Which Coronavirus causes COVID-19?
The coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 is known as SARS-CoV-2.
Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection
The COVID-19 virus affects people in different ways. Most infected people will develop only mild to moderate symptoms and will recover without any special treatment. Some people will remain asymptomatic even though they are infected with the virus and will also recover without needing any special treatment. The common symptoms of COVID-19 infection are fever, dry cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, aches and pains, sore throat. Other less common symptoms are nausea, diarrhea and runny nose. In severe cases, COVID-19 infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure, SARS, and even death.
When Should You Seek Medical Help?
If you have difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, and dry cough, reach out to the appropriate authorities in your area. You will be tested to ascertain if you have a coronavirus infection.
How is Coronavirus Transmitted?
Coronaviruses are transmitted through person to person contact and exhalation of respiratory droplets from the nose and mouth of an infected person. These droplets can land on objects and surfaces and anyone that comes in contact with such objects or touches such surfaces is at risk of developing a coronavirus infection. If you touch an infected object or surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth with the same hand, you are likely to become infected. The COVID-19 virus is said to be able to survive for several hours on surfaces. Breathing in droplets from an infected person who coughs or exhales droplets also puts you at risk.
Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus
Prevention they say is better than cure and although a lot of infected people recover from the disease, it is better to not get infected. Over 2 million people have been infected with COVID-19, with about one hundred and fifty thousand deaths so far. Steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of this new disease with no known cure yet include:
- Regular washing of your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. An alternative to this is to regularly rub an alcohol-based hand sanitizer on your hands. The sanitizer must have at least 60% alcohol.
- Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone sneezing or coughing.
- As much as possible, avoid touching your face. This prevents you from touching your mouth, eyes and nose which are possible entry points into your body for the virus.
- Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, keyboards, toilets, desks etc.
- If you have to cough or sneeze, do that into your elbow.
- If it’s possible to stay home, please do.
There is no known treatment or vaccine for combating COVID-19 but many drugs are undergoing clinical trials as a potential cure for the infection. A cure is expected to be found in the not too distant future.
COVID-19 Infection Contacts in Nigeria
The National Centre for Disease Control is the government agency responsible for handling cases of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria. There are testing centres set up all over the country and you can contact the appropriate local authorities if you need to take a test. You can visit the NCDC website at www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/ for more information on this disease in Nigeria.
Other NCDC contacts are:
Phone number: 0800-970000-10 (Toll-Free Call Centre)
08099555577 (SMS only)