Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated in Wuhan, China has quickly spread around the world. Anadolu Medical Center’s Clinical Microbiology Specialist Prof. Dr. Salih Türkoğlu stated that the world is once again facing a virus that spreads via droplets, which is the fastest and the most difficult to control route of transmission: “We should be careful about information pollution and manipulative news. We must ensure that that our information comes from reliable sources and we must not panic.”
In the transmission of coronavirus, the behaviors and attitudes of individuals play a very important role in addition to the central authority, reminds Anadolu Medical Center’s Clinical Microbiology Specialist Prof. Dr. Salih Türkoğlu: “Transmission via droplets is the most important route. In order not to spread and contract the virus, we should wear masks and take the necessary precautions.”
Prof. Dr. Salih Türkoğlu has shared the following advice to protect ourselves against the new coronavirus:
What is the new Coronavirus 2019?
This is a new virus that originated in China, which is transmitted through droplets and has the potential to reach out to large amounts of people in a short period of time, making them ill. China is a populous country where a diverse range of food products such as animals and insects is consumed extensively. Certain microbes carried by animals thus find the possibility to adapt themselves to humans. Since these microbes appear for the very first time, our immunity against them is zero. Which means that the virus causes disease in everyone who has the potential to be sick. One thing to remember here is the fact that no microbe causes disease in the entire population, only certain people become unwell and that only certain people (those with chronic diseases, the frail and the elderly) become severely ill.
How does the virus spread?
The virus spreads via droplets. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or breathes onto a surface, the virus is carried by hands onto mouth, nose and the eyes. An infected person can unknowingly spread the disease without becoming aware of the fact that they are ill. The incubation period for coronavirus ranges from 2 to 14 days.
What are the symptoms?
Fever, coughing and shortness of breath are the essential symptoms. However all sorts of respiratory tract disease symptoms should be taken into account. A runny nose, malaise, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, changes in taste and smell are also among the symptoms.
Who’s at risk?
Everyone, because this is a new virus and no one is immune. Not everyone may show signs of disease. Also not all who become sick will experience the disease severely.
Who’s affected more?
Coronavirus affects everyone but sufferers of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases and hypertension and those who have cancer may suffer from it more severely. Also advanced age (60 and above) is an important risk factor for coronavirus.
Coronavirus may not exhibit signs of disease in everyone. Those who become unwell do not all necessarily experience the disease severely. Eighty percent of those who become sick overcome coronavirus with mild symptoms only, while those with chronic diseases and the elderly may be affected more severely.
How to treat coronavirus?
There is no specific drug that kills the coronavirus. This holds true for many viral diseases. Those who are severely ill must be admitted to the hospital to receive supportive care, which means focusing on offering treatments to problematic areas. If there are additional microbial infections, these are also treated.
What are the precautions to not fall sick?
We must ensure that we are on top form from a health point of view, eat a balanced diet and eat well, cope with stress, get enough sleep. These are some of our most important weapons against any disease. We should also not cough in an uncontrolled manner, cover our mouths with a handkerchief while we cough, make sure that respiratory fluids to not come in contact with our hands, wash our hands with soap and disinfect them if there’s contact. We should be careful about hand hygiene and refrain from shaking hands at least for now.
We should also keep a close eye on the news, review our public transportation behaviors (wearing masks etc.), carry tissues and hand sanitizers, wash hands with soap whenever necessary, do not shake hands for a while, take extra measures if we exhibit respiratory tract symptoms, and not leave home if possible.
What should those coming from abroad be careful about?
Those who run the risk of being sick must wear a mask in order to stop transmission. Wearing a mask is also very importance in terms of protection. When you exhibit signs that resemble respiratory tract infections you should see a doctor immediately.
What should those who will be in contact with people coming from China or the region be careful about?
As much as possible refrain from shaking hands with and kissing those who come from the region. If you come into contact, wash your hands immediately. When your hands are not clean refrain from touching your mouth and nose. Use hand sanitizer. Make sure you do not spend time in closed spaces.