COVID-19 : WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF, YOUR STAFF AND YOUR FAMILY.
WHAT IS COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, on 31st December 2019.
HOW DOES COVID-19 SPREAD?
a) People can contract COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then contract COVID-19 by touching these contaminated objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also contract COVID-19 if they breathe in the contaminated droplets. It is therefore important to keep a distance of two meters (6 feet) away from a sick person.
b) COVID-19 is transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.
c) Coronaviruses are common in animals. Occasionally, people get infected with these viruses which may then spread to other people.
WHO CAN BE INFECTED WITH COVID-19?
All persons who are exposed to the virus are at risk of infection. Older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
WHAT IS THE INCUBATION PERIOD FOR COVID-19?
The incubation period, the time between contracting the virus and beginning to have signs and symptoms of the disease, ranges from 1-14 days. Most commonly, it is around five days.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?
a) Commonest symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. About 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and death.
b) Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
DO WE HAVE ANY TREATMENT FOR COVID-19?
Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those infected need to receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalised. Most patients recover from supportive care.
HOW DO WE PREVENT COVID-19?
a) Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This kills viruses that may be on your hands. Have these facilities in your homes and workplaces and use them.
b) Avoid handshakes as much as possible. Someone’s hands may be contaminated with the viruses, and you cannot see the viruses with your naked eyes.
c) Maintain social distancing of two meters (6 feet) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets containing the virus.
d) Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Your hands touch many surfaces and can pick up the viruses. Contaminated hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
e) Practice respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately. Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from the viruses.
f) Seek medical care early if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately, by calling for an ambulance or going to Hospital.
g) Practice food safety. Avoid contact between raw and ready-to-eat foods and meat. Cook meat thoroughly. Avoid eating diseased and dead animals.
h) Avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
i) Only wear a face mask if you experience COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19 symptoms. Disposable face mask can only be used once.