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What is Coronavirus: Types, Cause, Symptoms & Treatment

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About Coronavirus

“Okay, so now China has potentially deadly and exotic exports?  What could those possibly be?  Some sort of exotic alligator or snake?”  Well, actually it is in reference to Coronavirus.  Before you say, “What the heck is Coronavirus, know this:”

The Coronavirus that is currently infecting (and killing people) started in China.  It is one of a strain of many similar and potentially deadly viruses that are collectively referred to as ‘Coronavirus!’

The Coronavirus strikes humans, mammals, and birds alike but it has different outcomes in these different species, especially in humans.  Read on to learn more about it, its symptoms, causes, and treatment!

What is Coronavirus?

“Okay, so now I know that Coronavirus is bad news, but what exactly is it?”  Well, when humans get Coronavirus, it generally appears in the form of upper respiratory tract infections which include those associated with the common cold.

In fact, the common cold is a strain of Coronavirus!  It is generally only annoying (like the common cold) and goes away after a few weeks.  However, it can be deadly in rare instances.

Coronavirus gets its name from the crown-like shape these viruses have when looked at underneath a microscope.

Some background information about Coronavirus

Coronavirus is of current concern to world health officials because it is highly communicable.  In fact, it is spread through droplets that are airborne and/or contact with certain human bodily fluids.  As mentioned earlier, some strains of Coronavirus can be deadly, and this is definitely the case with the Wuhan Coronavirus strain.

Scientists first diagnosed and started studying/treating this virus in the 1960s.  It was then that they noticed that the virus had a corona or crown-like shape which its upper protruding proteins created.  It is a very long sequence of genetic bases with the shortest strain having 26,000 bases.

Doctors are currently aware of four different types of Coronavirus strains:

Types of Coronavirus:

  • Alphacoronavirus
  • Betacoronavirus
  • Gammacoronavirus
  • Deltacoronavirus

Only humans can get alpha and beta coronavirus.  They can also get Deltacoronavirus.

How do you know if you have a Coronavirus strain?

“Yikes, now that I know that Coronavirus is a nasty disease, I never want to get it!  How can I tell if I have it?”  well, some of the more common symptoms of Coronavirus include:

  • A runny nose
  • A bad and chronic headache
  • A persistent and nasty cough
  • A fever
  • A general feeling of sickness

Note that most people get some strain of Coronavirus (229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1.)  You can indeed develop either bronchitis or pneumonia (both can be deadly) from some of the more serious strains of Coronavirus.

People with cardiopulmonary disease (breathing problems), people with compromised immune systems (cancer patients, transplant patients, or pregnant women), the elderly, and infants are at greater risk of contracting the more severe forms of Coronavirus.

What you may not have known about Coronavirus

People have recently been affected by two deadly forms of Coronavirus:  Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Sudden Acute Respiratory System (SARS-CoV).  They are responsible for the very severe conditions that affect the respiratory tracts of its sufferers.  These include:

  • Fever
  • Bad cough
  • Shortness of breath

All of these symptoms will eventually turn into pneumonia if not treated in time.  MERS is a serious form of Coronavirus with a mortality rate of at least 30%.   It still plagues the Arabian peninsula.  SARS is just as serious, though no reported cases have been diagnosed in the past 16 years.

How your doctor will diagnose if you have Coronavirus

If you visit your doctor complaining of severe breathing and respiratory problems, your doctor will likely blood and lab tests on your respiratory fluids and serum (the thicker part of your blood) to determine if it is infected with a form of Coronavirus.  The lab tests will include an analysis of throat and nose cultures.

Your doctor will also do a physical exam to check for congestion in your upper respiratory tract or breathing problems.  He or she will also ask you questions about your overall recent wellness and medical history.

How to keep from getting Coronavirus

Since you said that you thought that Coronavirus was a nasty disease which you did not want to get, you should know some steps you can take to keep from getting it:

  • Use a hand sanitizer with alcohol in it or regular soap and water to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, touching something dirty, or before you eat.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with your fingers
  • Try to stay away from people with common respiratory illnesses like cold, flu, or fever as much as possible.
  • Make sure that you are as energetic and rested as possible – extreme fatigue can overwhelm your immune system and lower its ability to fight infectious diseases like the Coronavirus.
  • Stay hydrated
  • Take medicines to lessen the severity of respiratory illnesses you do have. But remember not to give Aspirin to kids!

These steps are of prime importance since there is no way you can vaccinate yourself from the Coronavirus or cure it once you get it.

Treatment options for Corona Virus

Because Coronavirus is essentially a stronger version of fever, flu, or the common cold, doctors don’t have an effective, known treatment regime for it.  Instead, they will tell you to do the following:

  • Take over the counter medicines like Benadryl, Robitussin, Dimetapp, and pain killers like Tylenol, Motrin, and Advil to lessen the symptoms, reduce your body temperature, and lower your heart rate. As mentioned earlier, give another pain killer other than Aspirin to kids, and make sure not to give cough medicines to your kid if he or she is under the age of four!
  • Stay in a room with lots of moisture in it. This will make your lungs moister and it will make it easier to breathe and swallow.  Your nose will not be as stuffy, you will cough less, and your throat will feel less sore.  You can add moisture to your room by using a humidifier.  You can stay around moist air by taking hot showers or baths frequently.
  • Stay rested. If you overexert yourself when you are already sick, you’ll feel even more tired and worn out.  Since both lower the effectiveness of your already overtaxed immune system, the virus will thrive in your body for longer and you will stay sicker for longer!
  • Stay hydrated. Being hydrated by drinking lots of fluids with electrolytes in it like fruit juices and Gatorade will constantly replenish your body with the minerals it needs to stay strong to help your immune system fight the Coronavirus.

Now that I know

“It certainly is scary to know that there are no known, effective treatments for Coronavirus.  However, I do know how to better protect myself now that I have read this article.  Thank’s for the great advice!”

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