In my blog which talks about fashion, etiquette, couple relationships, good manners and tells extraordinary stories from real life, an article that deals with the most discussed topic of the moment worldwide cannot be treated: Coronavirus COVID-19. After having consulted the Internet site of the Ministry of Health and Dr. sse Lidia Rota Vender of the Association for the fight against thrombosis and cardiovascular diseases of Milan, I have collected below some of the questions and answers to know.
But first of all, what is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause illnesses ranging from colds to more serious illnesses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Coronaviruses were identified in the mid-1960’s and are known to infect humans and certain animals (including birds and mammals). The main target cells are the epithelial cells of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract.
To date, seven coronaviruses have been shown to infect humans, causing simple colds but also serious respiratory tract infections.
But what does the name COVID-19 given to this coronavirus mean?
CO means corona, VI is for virus, D for disease and 19 indicates the year of its appearance. This was announced by the Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during the press conference held during a break from the Extraordinary Forum dedicated to the virus on February 11, 2020.
Although it belongs to the same family as SARS-COV-2 (acute respiratory syndrome) which occurred in 2006, it is not the same virus.
But what are the symptoms of an infected person?
The most common symptoms are fever, cough and difficult breathing. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Generally, the symptoms are mild and slow at first. Some people, although infected, do not develop symptoms or discomfort. 80% of people recover from the disease without needing special care. About 1 in 6 people fall seriously ill and develop breathing difficulties.
The people most susceptible to severe forms are the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Currently, the mortality rate is around 2% (source WHO).
How is the virus transmitted?
It is spread by close and direct contact with a sick person, by spraying saliva, coughing and sneezing. In addition, contaminated hands (not washed) coming into direct contact with the mouth, nose and eyes cause contamination. In rare cases, it can occur through fecal contamination. In general, diseases are not transmitted through food, which must in all cases be handled in accordance with good hygienic practices and avoiding contact between raw and cooked food.
According to current studies, there is no case of transmission from animals to humans.
Are people without symptoms contagious?
Unlike SARS and Ebola, where people who are contagious are the symptoms of the disease, not all viruses behave the same way. For example, the flu is contagious before symptoms appear. For the coronavirus, the same prevention is implemented as for SARS: diagnose and isolate.
The virus first settles in the throat, causing inflammation and a feeling of a dry throat: this symptom can last 3 to 4 days.
The virus travels using the humility that is present in the airways, it descends into the trachea and settles in the lungs causing pneunomia. This passage takes approximately 5 to 6 days.
Pueunomia manifests with high fever and difficulty breathing, and it has absolutely nothing like a common cold. You may even feel like you are drowning due to difficulty breathing. In this case, it is essential to immediately call an emergency care service.
How long is the incubation period?
The incubation period represents the period of time between infection and the development of the first clinical symptoms. It is currently estimated that it varies between 2 and 11 days, and up to a maximum of 14 days.
How long does the virus resist in the open air?
When the virus is found on metallic surfaces, it survives for about 12 hours! It is therefore extremely important when you touch metal surfaces such as doorknobs, doors, household appliances, grab handles on trams, etc. that you wash your hands well and disinfect yourself carefully.
The virus can live hidden in clothes and on fabrics for around 6 to 12 hours. Normal detergents can destroy it. For clothes that cannot be washed every day, if you can expose them to the sun or a source of great heat which will kill the virus.
The use of simple disinfectants is capable of killing the virus by canceling its capacity to infect people, for example disinfectants containing 75% alcohol (ethanol) or 1% chlorine (bleach).
But what are they mainly affected by?
Children are much less affected and still do not develop severe forms. The people most affected are the elderly or those suffering from serious pathologies (cardiovascular problems, diabetes). This does not mean that other adults are spared, but that they do not usually develop severe forms.
How can you protect yourself?
Transmission of the virus occurs in most cases by direct contact, by touching tissues or materials on which the virus is present: washing your hands frequently is absolutely essential.
The virus survives on your hands for about 10 minutes, but during these 10 minutes a lot can happen: rub your eyes or scratch your nose for example and allow the virus to enter your throat!
So, for your well-being and that of others, wash your hands as often as possible and disinfect them!
You can gargle with a disinfectant solution that eliminates or reduces the quota of the virus that might have entered your throat. By doing this, you will eliminate the virus before it enters the windpipe and then into your lungs.
Sanitize your computer keyboard and mouse, not to mention your cell phone and desk phone.
We all need to pay close attention and take care of ourselves for our well-being and that of others.
Here are the ten commandments to protect yourself:
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap or disinfectant.
- Avoid close contact with people with acute respiratory infections.
- DO NOT touch your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow or disposable handkerchief if you cough or sneeze.
- DO NOT take non-prescription antibiotics or antivirals.
- Clean the surfaces with disinfectants (alcohol or chlorine).
- DO NOT use a mask if you have no symptoms.
- DO NOT give up the use of products from China because the virus does not last long in the open air.
- DO NOT ABANDON pets because they do not transmit the virus.
- If you have symptoms or think you have been exposed to the infection, call your family doctor or pediatrician or the emergency number without going to the emergency room.
Remember that those who have returned from risk areas in the past 14 days have an obligation to remain in solitary confinement at their home and to communicate with the competent local authorities (family doctor, town hall, etc.).
Important to know: the virus does not resist heat and it dies if it is exposed to temperatures of 26 27 °. It is therefore very important to consume during the day all possible hot drinks such as tea, herbal tea, broth, soups, or simply hot water. The hot liquid neutralizes the virus and it is not difficult to absorb them.
Important: Especially avoid drinking iced water or sucking on ice or snow for those who are in the mountains, especially children.
In its genre, it is a fairly particular virus that I would dare to call intelligent in view of the measures taken concerning it:
He goes to school.
He doesn’t go to work however.
He loves cinema and nightclubs.
The gym and the swimming pool are not for him.
He never takes public transport.
He teaches education to many people who have always sneezed in the face of others, without restraint.
He teaches that it is important to wash your hands properly.
He blew up sales of antiseptic gel and masks.
He does not like to shop at the supermarket but loves the markets
However, he did not realize that by doing so, he had knocked down the economy of many parts of the world, creating alarmism in some cases insane. As the infectious disease specialist and director of the San Martino hospital in Genoa says, Dr Matteo Basetti :
– “We must be reassuring. The coronavirus is more like the flu than the bubonic plague. It is a difficult disease from an epidemiological point of view but from a clinical point of view the trend is calm. And then in Italy, there is not even a single patient who died of the coronavirus. When you enter the hospital from a heart attack and die from a coronavirus, he did not die from the coronavirus, he died from a heart attack. If someone is found dead at home, as happened in the Lodi region, and a post mortem sample is taken, how can we say that he died of coronavirus? “
So, I completely agree with what the doctor says, I believe that at the base of everything, there must always be common sense, as in all things and one must avoid creating unnecessary alarmism like a “plague period”. So, let’s continue our daily routine and adopt only basic prevention criteria like for a normal flu. Don’t panic, let’s be smart!