Recently, in the first week of January 2020, several cases of Pneumonia were reported from Wuhan city in China. Investigations revealed that the causative agent was a new strain of virus belonging to the family of Coronavirus which causes the common cold, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MARS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). This virus occurs in different species of animals. It spreads to humans in the areas of high population density where animal handling is common. It is a potentially life-threatening infection, as it can cause Pneumonia, Acute Severe Respiratory Syndrome and Kidney failure.
The presentation of Coronavirus infection ranges from little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. History of recent travel to China or Southeast Asian countries raises a strong suspicion. Symptoms can include:
· Shortness of breath
Incubation period: The time from acquiring the infection to initiation of symptoms ranges from 2 days to 14 days.
When a patient with Coronavirus coughs or sneezes, small droplets are released (not visible to the naked eye) which carry the virus. Direct transmission occurs when a healthy person is close to an infected person. Indirect transmission occurs when these droplets fall on commonly held objects like door handles, handsets, keyboards, etc. The virus travels onto the fingers and then enters our body when you touch the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Those who have pre-existing conditions like Heart disease, Lung disease, diabetes are more susceptible. Elderly and children less than 5 years are more at risk. People on immunosuppressants like Steroids or Anti-cancer drugs.
Shortness of breath
· Wash your hands with soap and running tap water as frequently as possible. Carry a hand sanitizer and use it when soap and water aren't readily available.
· When you cough or sneeze use a tissue paper and discard it after use. If tissue paper is not available, use the upper sleeves of your shirt.
· Observe good personal hygiene.
· Avoid touching the T zone of your face i.e. eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
· Use Surface Disinfectants to sanitize commonly held objects with TriGene II or SteriGene or Chlorox
· Avoid contact with people with possible symptoms.
· Avoid contact with animals and the consumption of uncooked meat.
· Wear N95 or N99 mask if you have respiratory symptoms or if you are in crowded places where chance of infection is high.
· Strengthen your Immunity: It is important to keep a healthy balanced nutritional diet along with moderate physical exercise on a regular basis. Avoid smoking and keep stress level low. Adequate sleep is also very important to strengthen immunity.
There is no vaccine available against Coronavirus. The annual Flu vaccine protects against Influenza (Viral Flu).
If you have symptoms of Flu, then it is advisable to take adequate rest, stay home and have lots of hot soups. In the early stages, symptomatic treatment includes Anti-pyretic, NSAIDs, Antihistamines and Oxymetazoline nasal spray. Consult your Physician if your temperature goes beyond 100 F or if you develop shortness of breath. Antibiotics have no role to play here. There is no Anti-viral agent available against Coronavirus, however, recently China has successfully cured a patient with Tab Nelfinavir (a drug used for HIV).
Integrative Medicine has treatment options for Acute Viral Upper respiratory tract infections. Randomized controlled trials have proven that Ayurvedic medications like Andrographis Paniculata is helpful. In vitro studies for Garlic have reported antibacterial and antiviral effects. Ginger, Honey and Lemon is a traditional method that works very well. Astragalus, an important medicinal plant in Chinese medicine is used for treatment and prevention of acute URTI like the common cold. Inhalation of hot moist air from boiling water with chamomile flower buds is helpful. Elderberry extracts may have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. A Norwegian study reported symptom reduction in influenza-like illness.