Coronavirus: what it is and the main symptoms

What is Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19)?

Coronavirus is a family of viruses that are found in animals and humans. This type of virus can cause various infections. Some of these infections are not dangerous, while others are.

The new coronavirus that is spreading now has been called COVID-19. COVID-19 is very similar to coronaviruses that have caused diseases and deaths in the world in the past, such as MERS and SARS.

This coronavirus is new and scientists discovered it for the first time in China in the past few months. Doctors do not know how to treat it yet and they are still studying the effects of this virus on humans.

How does it spread?

The virus spreads mainly from person to person. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, they release droplets. These droplets can go into the mouth or nose of a person nearby and go into the lungs, thus infecting them. These droplets may also land on clothing or another surface, and the person who touches this surface with their hands may become infected if they touch their face. It is, therefore, very important that you wash your hands thoroughly and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms caused by the virus are coughing, tiredness and fever. In some cases, there may be difficulty breathing, muscle pain, sore throat, and runny nose. We must be careful not to confuse this virus with the flu, even though at the beginning the symptoms may be very similar.

COVID-19 symptoms

Care

There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. However, there are cures to help reduce or relieve symptoms.

Who’s at risk?

Everyone who comes into close contact with an infected person or surface is at risk. Most people recover from the virus, however, older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes or lung diseases, are at increased risk of getting infected. Children usually get less sick and heal faster.

Those who are younger and in good health must be careful not to infect the weakest people, because for them the virus is more difficult to cure.

What should I do?

Wash your hands often with soap, or use sanitizers, especially after using toilets, before and after eating, after coming into close contact with others. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. For older adults and adults with chronic diseases, risks are higher, so you must be even more careful.

Don’t go out and try not to meet other people (friends or family members who live in other houses). Always keep a distance of at least one meter from the other person and be careful of objects and surfaces touched by many people (the door phone, the home gate, the door, etc.).

If you have been around a positive person or visited one of the areas where the virus is widespread (for example in Northern Italy) and you have symptoms, you must immediately notify the doctor.

Remember that many people recover from the virus even if it takes some time. Don’t be afraid and always follow the directions of the doctors. Staying at home and avoiding contact with other people is the best way to protect yourself and others.

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