Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals like birds and mammals, in rare cases; they are what scientist call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans.
The name “coronavirus” is a Latin name “Corona” means “halo” or “crown” which is derived from the crown-like projections on their surface.
The viruses can make people sick, usually with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to a common cold.
Recently, Coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 was identified in China by authorities as an outbreak which now spread to other countries.
Symptoms of coronavirus vary from person-to-person, and some forms can be fatal but cold or flu-like symptoms set in after 2-4 days of coronavirus infection and are usually mild.
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Feeling of being unwell
For those with a weakened immune system, the elderly and the very young, there’s a chance the virus could cause a lower, and much more serious respiratory tract illness like pneumonia, bronchitis and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- The air by coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth of an infected person
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- Rarely, fecal contamination.
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. Transmission is reduced through:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water
- Covering the mouth with tissue paper while sneezing or coughing
- Avoid smoking and stay away from smoky area
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick or anyone being confirmed to be infected with coronavirus
If you are mildly sick, keep yourself hydrated and have a rest.
If symptoms persist, you should see your healthcare provider.