Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): A Memo For Patients

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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): A Memo For Patients
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): A Memo For Patients

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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): A Memo for Patients

UpToDate's team of physicians and editors have produced a helpful patient reminder based on WHO and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): A Memo for Patients
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): A Memo for Patients

Photo: https://www.state.gov/coronavirus/ /

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): A Memo for Patients

1. What is COVID-19

The 2019 coronavirus infection, or COVID-19, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This virus was first detected in Wuhan, China. Since then, it has quickly spread throughout the world, including European countries and the United States. The main complaints include fever (increased body temperature), cough, and shortness of breath. Difficulty breathing indicates that the infection has caused pneumonia (pneumonia). Experts continue to study the properties of the virus.

2. How is COVID-19 transmitted

The main route of transmission of the virus is from person to person, like in the flu. This most often occurs when a person infected with the virus coughs or sneezes near other people. It is also believed that contact transmission is also possible: if you touch the surface on which the virus is located, and then - to the mouth, nose, eyes. As far as is known, people are most infectious when they are already sick. It is possible, however, and asymptomatic carriage of the virus (without symptoms of the disease), but the contribution of asymptomatic carriage is not completely clear.

3. The main manifestations of COVID-19

The disease usually appears several days after infection. Sometimes this period (called prodromal) stretches for a longer period. Disease manifestations may include: · fever, · cough, · fatigue, · muscle pain. Less common are headache, sore throat, runny nose, and loss of smell. Occasionally, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea are observed. In most cases, these manifestations disappear in a few weeks without any consequences. Often, the disease is completely asymptomatic. However, for some people, COVID-19 leads to serious disabilities - pneumonia, lack of oxygen (hypoxemia), heart failure and even death. Most often, the listed complications occur in the elderly, in patients with heart disease, diabetes mellitus,lung diseases and cancer. Children, although they get the virus, almost always get sick easily.

4. When to seek medical attention

If you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should call your doctor. You may be infected if in the previous 14 days 1) you have had close contact with a carrier of the virus, or 2) you are in or have returned from an area where there are many people with this infection. For mild symptoms, it is best to call your doctor before going to see him. The doctor will inform you about further actions, in particular, he will tell you whether it makes sense in an in-person consultation. Many people who have only mild symptoms of the disease are better off staying at home and isolating themselves from other people until the disease passes. If the doctor decides that you still need to appear at his place, then before entering the clinic or hospital, you must put on a face mask. It is best to wait for the appointment separately from other patients. If you feel so badthat you need to go to the hospital immediately, you still need to warn the medical staff about yourself: this will benefit both your safety and the safety of other patients. A doctor or paramedic will examine and ask you: you must be ready to answer questions about recent travel and contacts with other sick people.

5. Do I need an analysis for a virus

If you are suspected of having COVID-19, a nasal swab (possibly also from the mouth) will be taken and tested to confirm the diagnosis. If your sputum comes out, the sputum may be examined. The analysis will allow you to find out if you are suffering from COVID-19 or some other infection. In some areas, it is not possible to carry out tests for everyone who is suspected of COVID-19. In this case, the doctor will suggest that you stay at home and call again if your condition worsens. You may also be asked to have a chest x-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan to check if the infection has spread to your lungs.

6. How is COVID-19 treated

So far, there are no cures for this particular infection. Most people who are sick should stay at home until they recover, but if the illness is severe or if you have serious underlying medical conditions, you may be hospitalized. · Mild course of the disease. Most of the patients are at home. Mild manifestations of infection (fever, cough) usually disappear in two weeks, but the duration of the disease is different for different patients. As you recover, it is important not to leave your home until your doctor allows you to return to your normal life. The decision depends on how long you have been sick and, in some cases, on the test results (a negative result indicates that there is no virus in your body). · Severe illness. If COVID-19 is difficult for you, you may need hospitalization (often in the intensive care unit).Most likely you will find yourself in a special ward (box), where only medical workers can enter - in special gowns, gloves, masks, goggles. They will monitor your breathing and other bodily functions in an effort to relieve your condition. To help you breathe easier, you may need additional oxygen. If the lung damage turns out to be very serious, then you may need artificial ventilation (ALV) - you will breathe with the help of the machine. Doctors are currently studying several drugs to treat COVID-19. If they turn out to be effective, then some of them will be assigned to you.trying to alleviate your condition. To help you breathe easier, you may need additional oxygen. If the lung damage is very serious, then you may need artificial ventilation (ALV) - you will breathe with the help of the machine. Doctors are currently studying several drugs to treat COVID-19. If they turn out to be effective, then some of them will be assigned to you.trying to alleviate your condition. To help you breathe easier, you may need additional oxygen. If the lung damage is very serious, then you may need artificial ventilation (ALV) - you will breathe with the help of the machine. Doctors are currently studying several drugs to treat COVID-19. If they turn out to be effective, then some of them will be assigned to you.

7. Is it possible to avoid infection

There are steps that need to be taken to reduce the risk of infection. These measures apply to each member of society, since the infection spreads very quickly. They are most important for people over 65 and for those with chronic illnesses. · Wash your hands often with soap and water. It is especially important to wash your hands after being outside the home if you have touched objects or other people. Rub the soap over hands, including wrists, nails, and interdigital spaces for at least 20 seconds. Then rinse off the soap thoroughly with water, dry your hands with a paper towel and discard. If it is not possible to wash your hands, wipe them with a disinfectant gel. It is best to use gels with at least 60% ethyl alcohol. But soap and water are better than gels. · Do not touch your face, especially your mouth, nose and eyes.· Avoid meeting anyone who has signs of a viral infection. · Avoid crowds. If you live where there are many COVID-19 cases, then stay at home whenever possible. Even if you are healthy, limiting meetings with people (“social isolation”) helps slow the spread of the infection. During the epidemic, sports events, concerts, performances, festivals, parades and weddings, and even gatherings in a narrow circle are canceled or postponed - and they are dangerous. If you do need to meet people, avoid touching them and wash your hands often. In particular, avoid shaking hands and teach others not to shake hands. Some experts advise against traveling to certain countries where the incidence of COVID-19 is high. The list of these countries is constantly updated.Experts do not recommend wearing face masks unless you are sick or caring for someone who has (or may have) COVID-19. Much of the information on how to avoid infection is incorrect. So, you've probably heard that hand dryers, rinsing your nose with salt water and taking antibiotics prophylactically kill viruses - they are not. There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 yet.

8. What to do if someone has COVID-19 at home

If anyone living with you is sick, you need to take additional protective measures. · Isolate the sick person: he should be in a separate room and, if possible, use a separate toilet and bathroom. · Face masks: the sick person must wear a mask when in the same room with other people. When caring for a sick person, you should also wear a face mask. This is especially important if the patient himself cannot wear a mask. · Frequent hand washing (see above). · Frequent cleaning: wear disposable gloves. Wear them also when you touch the sick person's linen, his dishes, the chamber pot, the garbage left by him. · Frequently wash objects that are frequently touched: bedside table, telephone, doorknobs, bells, etc. · Wash objects with water and soap, but also with disinfectants.Some of them kill bacteria, but not viruses, so read the description of each product you are going to use.

9. What to do in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in your area

The best things to do to stay sick is to wash your hands often (see above), avoid seeing sick people, and stay at home if you are sick yourself. It is necessary to follow the rules established by the local administration regarding public behavior. Stay tuned for news: if there is no massive incidence of COVID-19 where you are, the situation could quickly change for the worse. During epidemics, schools and businesses are often closed, any public events are canceled, local and federal authorities order residents to stay at home. It is advisable to prepare for this: start working from home, establish means of communication with relatives, neighbors and friends. This way you can be aware of what is happening. The rules set for the duration of the epidemic may vary from region to region. If the authorities order not to gather in groups,stay in their homes, we must try to comply with these instructions with great care. Even if COVID-19 is not too dangerous for you, you can still infect others. Separating people is the best way to stop the spread of the virus. If you have been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient, but you do not have any manifestations of the disease, you can consult the hotline with the official representatives of the anti-epidemic services.you can consult the hotline with the official representatives of the anti-epidemic services.you can consult the hotline with the official representatives of the anti-epidemic services.

10. How to deal with epidemic anxiety

Concern and even anxiety is a natural reaction to what is happening. It will be better for your psychological state and the state of your family members if you 1) do not constantly read or listen to the news, 2) eat healthy food and exercise regularly, 3) find yourself a homework for your soul, 4) keep in touch with friends and family. Do whatever you can to reduce the risk of contracting the virus and infecting others, and don't panic. Remember that in the vast majority of cases, COVID-19 is mild and ends in full recovery.

Sources of additional information (in English and other languages):

United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/COVID19 World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 Contributors: UpToDate Team of Physicians and Editors Last updated: March 26, 2020 Original: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-the-basics Translated from English: M. A. Osipov

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