Almost overnight, we have seen the world in a way we have never seen before. Businesses shutting down and our way of life threatened in every way. All because of the novel coronavirus. It was first identified in Wuhan, a Province in China, in December 2019.
Countries had to cease travel and close off their borders, trying to stop the virus from spreading further and causing more havoc. For the first time in modern history, we are seeing the world coming together and speaking one language.
Our emergency room near you is full of patients who need emergency care because they have COVID-19. Our urgent care in Temple, though capable of caring for COVID-19 patients, needs more people to stop the transmission of the coronavirus.
The fight against coronavirus can be won if we try our best to curb the spread of the virus. Let’s look at some of the coronavirus facts.
The virus gets its name from the crown-like protrusions on its surface. Corona means crown in Latin.
Most probably, you have interacted with the coronavirus before, and you have no idea. Rhinoviruses and coronaviruses cause common colds. Even though rhinoviruses are the leading cause of the common cold, you must have been infected by coronavirus at least once a year.
Therefore, it is not a new virus. However, the one that causes COVID-19 is a new type known as SARS-CoV-2. There are seven types of coronaviruses. Among them are the ones that caused the Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe respiratory acute syndrome (SARS).
Other than the three deadly coronaviruses that cause COVID-19, SARS and MERS, the other four types are not deadly since they are the ones that cause the common colds.
COVID-19, in general, is a respiratory illness that affects either the lower respiratory tract (lungs and windpipe) or the upper respiratory tract (sinuses, throat, and nose).
One thing that gives the coronavirus an edge is that it is highly contagious as compared to other viruses. It can spread very fast within a population.
It is estimated that one infected person can transmit the disease to two or three people. When you compound the number, you will understand the figures we see every day.
Primarily, the coronavirus is thought to be transmitted from person to person. If an infected person is close to you, approximately six feet or less, then he or she coughs or sneezes, you can get infected.
This is because the droplets released by the infected person can travel a distance of about two meters or six feet. If you breathe in the droplets, you will get infected.
This is why wearing cloth masks is essential to combat the spread of the virus.
Another way that the virus is transmitted is when you touch a surface or an object that the virus has landed on. Coronavirus can survive on different materials for as long as three days.
Hence, the need to clean and disinfect surfaces. This is why you need to wash your hands with soap before touching your face.
Also, you need to bear in mind that asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) people can spread the virus.
When you suspect that you have COVID-19, call our doctor immediately at our ER near you. If you are advised to come in our 24-hour emergency room, two tests can be done:
Molecular test. The test detects the genetic material that is specific to SARS-CoV-2. You can get the results in a matter of minutes.
Antigen test. This is a newer test and detects certain proteins unique to SARS-CoV-2.
However, if you have been infected before and you have fully recovered from COVID-19, then you can be eligible for the antibody testing. Our doctor will take a blood sample. Then your blood is analyzed to see if you have any antibodies against the virus.
When infected, your body will produce specific proteins known as antibodies to help fight and clear the infection. If the results come back positive even if you have not been tested before for COVID-19, it means that you were once infected and have some immunity.
It is not clear, though, that this will prevent reinfection.
It takes an average of 12 days before your body creates enough antibodies to show in the test. If the test is taken too early, then the result will be negative. That’s why you will have to wait several days before taking the test.
You can donate your plasma, part of your blood, to help boost the immune system of other patients, giving their bodies a fighting chance. Currently, this is being used on an experimental basis.
You can contact our health care team in our urgent care near you if you have any questions or to book an appointment. At Express ER in Temple, we would love to help you in this trying time.