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Coronavirus: What Are The Symptoms And Treatments

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With the world on the edge of of tackling coronavirus, people are being urged to be aware of the symptoms of the deadly illness.

The most recent figures show that at least 50,000 people have Covid-19 – and around 5000 people have died in globally.

What is coronavirus?: Coronavirus is the name for a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS.

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The new disease that emerged in China in December has never been seen in humans before the current outbreak. It’s been called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by the World Health Organisation and causes an illness that’s been named Covid-19.

The new strain is thought to have jumped from bats to humans, via a possible but unknown animal, in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

coronavirusWhat are the early warning signs? As Covid-19 is a new virus, experts are still working to understand it. However, health officials say the most common symptoms of coronavirus infection usually include:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath
  • Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea – but these are usually mild and begin gradually.


Developing these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have the illness and they are similar to other illnesses, such as the common cold or flu. Some people will not develop all of these symptoms – and some might not even show symptoms at all, experts say.

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Around one out of every six who gets Covid-19 become seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing, according to the WHO. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are at most risk developing serious illness.

This can include pneumonia and swelling in the lungs, which can make it hard for the lungs to pass oxygen into the bloodstream – leading to organ failure and death. Severe pneumonia can kill people by causing them to “drown” in the fluid flooding their lungs. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention, the WHO says.


How does coronavirus differ from flu? 
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to other respiratory illnesses such as the flu and the common cold.
However, with the flu, symptoms can come on much quicker than with coronavirus. According to the WHO, signs of flu include:

  • A sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
  • An aching body
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • A dry cough
  • A sore throat
  • A headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • Feeling sick and being sick
  1. You can treat yourself for flu by getting rest and staying warm.
  2. Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen can lower your temperature and treat aches and pains.
  3. Drinking plenty of water will help avoid dehydration.
  4. The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu, as well as spreading it to others. It’s more effective to get the vaccine before the start of the flu season, which tends to run from December to March.
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How quickly do coronavirus symptoms come on? The virus is believed to be transmitted between people through droplets spread from coughing and touching or shaking hands. While sneezing is not a symptom of the new coronavirus, it also thought to be a way that droplets can be spread.

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Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 11 days. New research has found that the average incubation period of Covid-19 is 5.1 days.
A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US found that almost all (97.5 per cent) of those who develop symptoms appeared to do so within 11.5 days of infection. Experts say there is little evidence to suggest that people can spread the virus without showing symptoms.

When should I seek help? You should also call your doctor if

  • you have travelled to any of the affected countries and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath.
  • Or if you have been in close contact with an infected person.

CoronavirusPublic Health England defines close contact as being within two metres of someone for 15 minutes or more or sharing a room for a prolonged period.

WHO has urged people to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as, if you have the virus, you risk spreading it to others.

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If you get a cough, a high temperature, or you feel short of breath, continue to follow this advice. Do not leave your house without getting advice from a doctor.

How can I protect myself? The best way to prevent catching any form of coronavirus is to practice good hygiene, health experts say. In order to reduce your risk of infection, you should:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with others.
  • You should also cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw it away and wash your hands.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces which you may have touched is also important.

Can it be treated? Currently there is no vaccine to protect people against the virus. Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses – only bacteria.

WHO says that treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness. Those who are infected will need to stay in isolation away from other people until they have recovered.

CoronavirusPhoto Credit: Getty

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