According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 isa disease caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The WHO first learned of this new virus in December 2019, following a report of a cluster of cases of ‘viral pneumonia’ in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China.
The virus causes respiratory illnesses, particularly the common cold and more severe illnesses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the common cold. According to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Dry cough
Other symptoms which may affect some patients but are less common include:
- Sore throat
- Muscle or joint pain
- Loss of taste or smell
- Nasal congestion
- Different types of skin rash
- Nausea or vomiting
- Chills or dizziness.
Severe symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- High temperature (above 38 °C).
Other less common symptoms are:
- Reduced consciousness (sometimes associated with seizures)
- Sleep disorders
- More severe and rare neurological complications such as strokes, brain inflammation, delirium and nerve damage.
There is no cure for COVID-19. Infected persons with mild symptoms may be cared for at home, in isolation, or at a health facility. The medication administered helps to manage symptoms, and ventilators are provided for patientswho experience difficulty in breathing.
If you experience any symptoms, call or visit the nearest health centre to get expert help.
Stop the Spread
COVID-19 can be spread from person to person through contact with body fluids, or inhaling breath particles of infected persons, as well as being in contact with surfaces contaminated with infected droplets.
These body fluids may form in droplets from the nose or mouth which spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs. In the event that these droplets contaminate surfaces, when you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, touching thosesurfaces can expose you to COVID-19.
How to Protect Your Self
- Wear a face mask to protect yourself from droplets released when a person sneezes or coughs. A face mask will also prevent you from possibly infecting other people when you cough or sneeze.
- Frequently wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to get rid of viruses and germs that are commonly present onthe hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth in order not to infect yourself with germs or viruses.
- Avoid crowded spaces to reduce the possibility of getting infected and coming in contactwith infected persons.
- Practice social distancing by maintaining up to 2 meters distance between you and other people.
- Avoid unnecessary Outings/Trips.
- Encourage your friends, colleagues and loved ones to adhere strictly to guidelines.
Caring for Someone With COVID-19
Many people who are infected with COVID-19 can recover from home. Such persons often require caregivers who may be family or friends. When caring for someone with COVID-19, it is important to ensure that you neither have a pre-existing health condition nor a vulnerable immune system.
Caregiving mainly entails helping infected persons follow COVID-19 guidelines and treatment instructions given to them by certified health practitioners.
- Wear a face mask
- Wash your hands regularly
- Do not share personal items
- Use disposable plates and cutlery
- Mark a safe distance around the isolation area of the infected person
- Have designated waste bags
- Limit contact
- Frequently disinfect surfaces
- Stay up to date with valid information
- Studies show hydroxylchloroquine does not have clinical benefits in treating COVID-19.
- The COVID-19 virus can spread in hot and humid climates.
- No research supports the use of any supplement, herb, food or diet to protect against COVID-19.
- Ultra-violet (UV) lamps should NOT be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skin.
Misinformation kills, spread facts.
According to an FDA analysis, the Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine has been shown to be about 95% effective against COVID-19, while the Moderna vaccine is reportedly 94.5% effective against the disease. Both need to be stored at -70C (-94 F) and at -20C (-4F) respectively.
However, the Oxford-AstraZeneca can be stored at standard refrigeration temperatures and experts report that this could be the best option available for many African countries. It is reported to be 62% – 90% effective and is currently the cheapest COVID-19 vaccine available.
Some COVID-19 vaccines have also been developed by GlaxoSmithKline, Valneva, Novavax, Janssen and Gamaleya.