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Questions about COVID-19

Questions about COVID-19

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory infections in humans. Those infections range from the common cold to more serious diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Symptom (MERS) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. The outbreak of COVID-19 started in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. However, some patients may also have pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild, and they appear gradually. Some people become infected, but they do not develop any symptoms and they do not feel bad. 

How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 by contact with someone who is infected, through small drops from the nose or mouth which are expelled when an infected person coughs or exhales. These droplets can also fall on the objects and surfaces surrounding the person and if somebody touches them and then touches or rubs their eyes, nose, or mouth, they can catch COVID-19. This is why it is important to keep a safe distance between people.

What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of the disease? 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, using soap and water or an alcohol-based disinfectant, containing 70% alcohol. 
  • Keep a distance between people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth before washing your hands properly. 
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with the inner crook of your elbow or with a paper tissue. You must dispose of the used tissue immediately. 
  • If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and follow the prescribed treatment. Stay in social isolation. 
  • Keep informed of the latest news regarding COVID-19 through official health sources. 

What are the odds of contracting COVID-19?

The risk depends on the place where you are and whether there is an outbreak of COVID-19 underway in that place. Currently, the risk in the metropolitan area of Monterrey remains low. However, in order to avoid massive contagion, it is important that we all respect the restrictions regarding travel, local journeys, and crowds. If we support the prevention measures against the disease, we will reduce the risk that each one of us has of contracting the virus or spreading it. 

Who is at risk of developing a serious disease?

We still have a lot to learn about the way that COVID-2019 affects humans. However, it seems that older people and people with preexisting medical conditions (like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes) develop severe cases of the disease more often than other people. 

Can antibiotics prevent or treat COVID-19?

No, antibiotics only work against bacterial infections, not against viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a virus. Therefore, antibiotics do not work against this disease.

Are there any medications or therapies that prevent or cure COVID-19?

Even though some western, traditional, and home remedies can provide comfort and ease the symptoms of COVID-19, there is no proof that current medications can prevent or cure the disease. The WHO advises against self-medication, especially with antibiotics, to prevent or cure COVID-19. Moreover, to date there is no specific antiviral medication or vaccine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, infected people should receive health care in order to alleviate the symptoms. People with severe cases of the disease must be hospitalized. Most patients recover with the help of support measures. 

How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?

The incubation period is the time elapsed between exposure to the virus and the appearance of symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 fluctuate between 1 and 14 days. Generally speaking, it is placed at about five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available. 

How long does the virus survive on a surface?

It is not known for certain how long the COVID-19 virus survives on a surface, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. The studies performed (including the preliminary information available on the COVID-19 virus) indicate that coronaviruses can survive on a surface between a few hours and several days, depending on the surface’s condition. 

Can cleaning products and disinfectants eliminate the new coronavirus? 

The labels of some cleaning and disinfecting products claim that they protect against certain viruses, but since no more information is available at the moment, surfaces should be treated with caution. It is necessary to use 1% chloride disinfectants. 

What should I do if I have to travel for personal reasons? 

If you have planned a trip to a country with local transmission of COVID-19, you should first look into the possibility of postponing the trip. If it is impossible to change it, you must follow the recommendations given in the answer to question 5. 

Sources:

OMS. WHO Questions and answers on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Mexican Government. Information for the population.

UDEM Trips

Consult the measures to be taken in case of travel

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