Coronavirus Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Precautions

Updated 3/15/2019


Coronavirus

QFLES Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.


Symptoms:

  • Frequent coughs
  • Head/muscle ache
  • Feeling unwell
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

Diagnosis:

Samples are usually taken from the respiratory tract using appropriate infection control measures. These samples are tested for SARS-CoV-2. Testing is only available in specialized laboratories, however is becoming more widely available.

Treatment:

Treatment is supportive with medication to reduce fever and to support and improve respiratory function. Currently, there is no specific antiviral therapy against this disease, however trials are underway.

Precautions while visiting hospitals, distributors, government offices and other professional workplaces

A. Maintain personal hygiene

  • Refrain from shaking hands to greet, use other forms of greeting such as smiling, nodding, and folding hands to greet (Namaste).
  • Consciously make an attempt to avoid touching your face unnecessarily.
  • Cover your mouth and nose by hands when sneezing or coughing, or sneeze into your elbow to prevent the vapors from spreading.
  • Wash your hands at regular intervals throughout the day, devoting at least 20 seconds for each wash. Ensure that the hands are washed up to the wrists and between the fingers every time.
  • If soap and water are not available, keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you.
  • Avoid direct contact with animals (live or dead) and their environment. Do not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with droppings/animal waste.
  • Do not touch surfaces that might be contaminated.

As a good precaution, wash your hands thoroughly when doing any of the following activities:

  • When you cough/sneeze
  • Caring for the sick/elderly
  • Before and after making or eating meals
  • After use of washrooms/ toilets
  • After handling pets/animals, their feed or their waste
  • After handling garbage

B. Practice food safety:

  • Wash hands between handling raw food, cooked food and before eating meals
  • Use different chopping boards and knives for raw meats and cooked food
  • Meals should be cooked thoroughly and properly handled during preparation
  • Ensure food (including eggs), is thoroughly cooked.

C. Stay healthy while traveling:

  • Avoid non-essential travel, especially if you have a fever and cough.
  • If you choose to wear a face mask, make sure that it fits your mouth and nose properly. Avoid touching the mask once it is on. Immediately discard single-use mask after each use and wash hands thoroughly after removing the mask.
  • Avoid traveling to areas experiencing Coronavirus outbreaks. Expect delay at the airports owing to screening of travelers

D. Maintain social distance –

  • Keep at least one meter (3 feet) between yourself and other people, especially those that are coughing, sneezing, or who appear feverish.
  • Isolate yourself if you feel unwell, feverish or have other symptoms, and seek medical advice as early as possible.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Use face masks whenever you enter critical health care areas such as a hospital/clinic/nursing homes/accommodation facility for the elderly etc. Any reusable respirators must be cleaned/disinfected according to the manufacturer’s reprocessing instructions given.

Instructions for companies to follow:

  • Although all companies usually have a robust entry/exit system in place, it is crucial that this system is rechecked to make sure there is no lapse in proper record-keeping of all (internal or external personnel) those who enter and exit the workplace.
  • All visitors should follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette precautions while in the common areas of the facility.
  • The common areas and the commonly used 'touchpoints' such as door/window/ drawer handles, knobs, buttons in and out of the lift etc. should be regularly cleaned and disinfected with a hospital-grade disinfectant.
  • Put sanitizers in all strategic places in the office/plant, should be refilled at regular frequency and should be placed at locations just after the entrance.
  • If an employee shows any signs of flu, fever, frequent coughing and sneezing, discreetly ask them to visit the in-house doctor or ask them to fix an appointment with a doctor for immediate check-up. Once they have done so and are willing to attend the workplace, ask them to wear face masks regularly.
  • Don’t indulge in rumors and unnecessary panic. Follow the Government of India website to seek any information or latest update on the cases.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you develop a cough, especially with fever or shortness of breath
  • It is advisable to procure at least one infrared thermometer in office/plant environment that have large number of employees.