Coronavirus outbreak – What you need to know
Coronavirus (Covid-19) has now become a global pandemic after spreading to over 140 countries. In Africa, cases have been reported in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Eswatini, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire), Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Tunisia. In Kenya, the first case was reported on March 13, with the number rising to 7 so far.
How Coronavirus spreads
Covid-19 is a respiratory disease that spreads through respiratory droplets. When someone with coronavirus coughs or sneezes, the droplets could infect people within a radius of six feet. Six feet is the standard length of a bed. However, these droplets could settle on surfaces such as the doorknob, table, countertop, utensils, clothing, ground or even hands. Touching any of these surfaces could transfer the virus to your hands. Touching these surfaces and then touching your face exposes you to the virus. Contaminated bathroom pipes are also believed to transmit the virus.
According to Harvard Health, the survival rate of the coronavirus depends on where it falls. For instance, droplets from a person who has it may fall to the ground immediately, or stay in the air for up to 3 hours before falling down. On copper surfaces, it may last up to 4 hours, on cardboard 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel 2-3 days.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
The first step towards staying safe is by recognising the symptoms of coronavirus. Fever and cough are the most common early signs of exposure to the virus, with the symptoms taking 2-14 days to show.
Patients may also experience muscle pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. Some patients are reported to have developed nausea and diarrhea 1-2 days before showing any of the obvious symptoms of coronavirus, while others did not show any signs at all for up to 5 days after exposure.
These are the day-by-day symptoms of coronavirus:
Symptoms of coronavirus: Day 1
- Dry cough
- Muscle pain
Symptoms of coronavirus: Day 5
- Difficulties breathing
Symptoms of coronavirus: Day 7
- Most patients get admitted on day 7, with the majority experiencing dyspnea (shortness of breath).
Symptoms of coronavirus: Day 8
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
Symptoms of coronavirus: Day 9
Symptoms of coronavirus: Day 10
- Patients are admitted to the ICU
- Survivors develop ARDS
Symptoms of coronavirus: Day 12
- Initial fever ends
How to stay safe from Covid-19
Read Also: How to sanitise groceries at home
If you already have it …
If you have symptoms of Covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who is sick, it is advisable to;
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue paper and dispose of it in a lined trash can
- Visit the nearest health center for screening
- Quarantine yourself at home and avoid close contact with other people in your family
- Avoid sharing dishes, bedding and personal effects
- Wear a mask
- Avoid public transportation including status, boda bodas and taxis
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Disinfect surfaces within the home such as the doorknob, counter and tabletops, and utensils
- Monitor your symptoms and follow the doctor’s advice
If you don’t have it …
If you do not have the virus, it is better to take preventive measures early than cure it later. Here are tips to stay safe:
- Maintain social distance.
- Limit your movement. Avoid public places, unnecessary meetings, and social gatherings.
- Avoid public transportation. Use a personal vehicle or taxis
- Sanitize your hands when getting into and out of a building, shopping mall, supermarket (Chandarana Food plus are sanitizing their shopping baskets).
- Sanitize your hands when you get into your car or house.
- Always wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
- Shop online. Jumia is still open, and so you can try to source your supplies on Jumia. Carrefour is also open to online shopping, as well as Tuskys.
- Gargle twice a day with Listerine or saltwater.
- Do not touch your face with dirty hands.
- Avoid using cash and embrace cashless transactions such as M-Pesa, Paypal, Visa and Mastercard.
- If exposed to the virus or taking care of a sick one, soak your clothes with a disinfectant such as Dettol
- Clean your house and surfaces with a disinfectant.
- Avoid sharing utensils, bedding, and personal effects.
- Disinfect the supplies you get from the shops or supermarket
- Practice social distancing by avoiding drinking dens, sex dens, gyms, church, and any other crowded spaces
- Protect your mouth, nose, and eyes from cough/sneeze droplets by wearing a facemask while in public or near a patient.
- Stay hydrated by taking plenty of water
- Avoid contact with sick people
- Boost your immunity. Omega 3’s are recommended, but you can also try natural immune boosters such as lime, ginger, and turmeric with honey.
- Getting the influenza vaccine is said to help make coronavirus symptoms mild.
- Seek medical help when you develop coronavirus symptoms.
- Join the WHO WhatsApp Alert service on COVID-19 to stay informed.
How are you protecting yourself from the coronavirus? Please share in the comments box.