The corona virus has had everyone around the world in a panic and uproar. While some people are simply exhausted from the information, others are buying up the toilet paper, cleaning products and food. This rapid buying trend has led to some store chains limiting quantities on certain products and causing others to learn how to survive without these products. Many restaurants and bars have been temporarily closed in order to better try and contain this infection. Some Countries have even decided to shut down their nations entrances and exits completely to attempt to limit further contamination, but what is this corona virus and why has it created such a global pandemic?

Corona viruses were actually first identified in the 1960s. They got their name from their appearance. The name comes from Latin Corona Meaning “halo” or “crown.” This crown shaped spikes infection can be contracted by both humans and animals. No, this doesn't mean going Vegan will save you. Corona viruses are more common in Fall and Winter, but a person can contract one at any time. Coronaviruses belong to the subfamily Coronaviridae. Currently 7 common types of coronaviridae are recognized by doctors.

The common types are…

  • 229E (Alpha Coronavirus)

  • OC43 (Beta Coronavirus)

(These first two types mentioned here are among the leading causes of the common cold.)

  • NL63 (Alpha Coronavirus)

  • HKU1 (Beta Coronavirus)

Rarer strains that are more severe include MERS-CoV, which causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and SARS-CoV, the virus responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

In December, 2019 China had an infectious outbreak. Early 2020 in Wuhan, China the World Health Organization (WHO) identified a seventh type, the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which can be fatal. The Organization so named the virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and named the disease it causes COVID-19. So, what caused this? How did it start? Why has it spread so quickly?

It is believed that the first reported people with COVID-19 had links to an animal and seafood market. This originally suggested that animals transmitted the virus to humans. However, more recently diagnosed individuals had no connections whatsoever to the market. This fact confirmed that humans can pass the virus to each other. The origins are undetermined and we currently know little to nothing of this strand of the coronaviruses origins. We are still in the early learning phases of COVID-19. As you read this, some of the world's leading scientists and doctors are working to learn more about this virus and working toward developing a vaccine. They need our patience and cooperation during this difficult time. How can we help?

Right now the CDC is recommending that you keep your distance from other individuals as they may or may not be infected. Staying home as much as possible during this time is crucial to containment but buying lots of supplies at once is not suggested. You can be infected 2-14 days before showing symptoms. The president suggests that you keep to yourself but if you must be in a social situation that you keep in groups of 10 people or less. It is also recommended that you wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. If you cannot immediately wash your hands then you may temporarily use an alcohol based hand sanitizer, but this method is not to replace hand washing as it is less effective. It is being suggested to keep hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth. It is much easier said than done but it is believed that surfaces can easily be contaminated and touching these surfaces and then touching your face can easily infect you. Studies done by scientists have shown on other viruses that they typically can survive up to 3 hours in the air, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 2 to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel. Viruses can last several days on one of our nations coins, but U.S. dollars are harder for a virus to stick too. Try to avoid infected individuals as well. This virus is spread through coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person's hands or face, and by touching surfaces infected people have touched. Use your best clean practices in and out of your home.

The data from 56,000 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients in China, was taken and common reported symptoms are as follows...

  • 88% reported fever

  • 68% reported a dry cough

  • 38% reported fatigue

  • 33% coughed up phlegm

  • 19% reported shortness of breath

  • 15% reported joint or muscle pain

  • 14% reported having a sore throat

  • 14% reported having a headache

  • 11% reported chills

  • 5% reported nausea or vomiting

  • 5% reported nasal congestion

  • 4% reported diarrhea

If this virus spreads to your lungs or windpipe it can cause pneumonia. People with weakened immune systems, heart disease, or are over 60 years of age are most at risk from developing severe symptoms and infections. So maybe you should think twice about visiting or hugging grandma. What should you do if you or someone you love has contracted or you believe has contracted COVID-19?

  • Get plenty of rest

  • Drink lots of fluids

  • Take over the counter medicine for sore throat and fever, but do not give children or teens younger than 19 aspirin.

  • A humidifier or steamy shower can also be effective in easing a sore throat and cough as well.

  • Isolate infected individuals away from others in the home.

  • Clean and sanitize all frequently touched surfaces often. It is suggested by the CDC that you sanitize all frequently touched surfaces with a bleach mixture of ⅓ cup bleach to one gallon of water or use an alcohol based cleanser with at least 70% alcohol.

  • If symptoms worsen call the doctor or hospital prior to seeking medical attention so that they might prepare for your arrival.

After you have been in isolation and feel you are better don't be quick to leave isolation. Isolation sounds like a harsh word but it can be just what we need to contain and prevent further spread of this disease. If you have been sick you need to check 3 things before leaving and even after still using precautions as it has not been verified yet on whether or not you can catch the virus twice. The following are things that all need to occur before leaving isolation.

  1. You have not had a fever for at least 72 hours without the use of medication.

  2. Your other symptoms have improved for example your not coughing as often and you have increased breathing capabilities.

  3. It has been at least 7 days that have passed since your symptoms have initially appeared.

The information on the latest strain of coronavirus can be overwhelming but we have so much further to learn. Should you buy everything in sight? It isn't recommended. Should you go out unless needed? Again, it isn't recommended. Sanitation and isolation are your best ways to prevent infection. Are we almost done with this infection and what will happen in the future? There is no way to know only time will tell, but if we stick together to do what we can and take proper precaution as a community I believe we will get through this.