The War On Viruses
A virus is an infective agent that is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host. There are differing opinions as to whether a virus is a living organism or just an infective agent that attacks living organisms. Either way, once it infects a cell, it passes its DNA into the genome of the cell, causing an identical copy of the original virus to form. Coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. There are 7 types of coronaviruses that can infect humans: 229E, NL63, OC43, HKU1, MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus was identified on 1/9/20 in China, causing an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan city, China. The SARS-CoV was recognized in China as well, but in 2002, causing over 700 deaths. SARS-CoV causes body aches, chills and fever. And the MERS-CoV was reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, causing many respiratory symptoms near the Arabian peninsula. MERS-CoV usually causes shortness of breath, fever and cough.
Coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory illnesses. The duration is often short-acting and symptoms may include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
Keep in mind that coronaviruses can also cause lower respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This usually occurs in infants, elderly or people with already weakened immune systems. Coronaviruses spread through human contact:
- Touching infected surfaces
- Shaking hands with others
- Coughing and sneezing
Prevention is key because there are currently no vaccines. Washing your hands with soap and hot water, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands and avoiding contact with sick people, are the best steps that you can take to prevent an infection with this type of virus.
As far as treatment goes, there is no medication to fight against a coronavirus. Staying at home to rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking pain and fever medications to ease the symptoms is what is recommended. Allowing time for your immune system to mount its defenses so that it can fight this potentially deadly invader, is key to recovering successfully. But if your symptoms are very bad, then seek immediate medical attention!
For more information on the coronavirus, please check the CDC website.
Here on The DSM Ready Community, we would like everyone to remain as healthy as possible. Please feel free to share any tips, suggestions or stories in regards to the coronavirus.
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