The Covid – 19 pandemic has cast a huge net spreading across 176 countries and territories. India death toll crosses 27 against 1024 cases while globally it has exceeded 33,000. [Ref] The interesting thing is, it is not easy to tell apart Covid – 19 symptoms from the regular flu. So, how do you know if you have the Covid – 19 symptoms and when you should visit the doctor?
The Various Coronavirus Symptoms
Coronavirus is the family of viruses of which COVID-19 is the culprit for the current outbreak. Once you are infected, you’ll have symptoms such as cough, body aches, sore throat, fever, and tiredness. It may resemble the common cold or acute influenza but may cause pneumonia if the severity increases.
Wuhan in China, where COVID-19 first started, reported a series of 138 cases. Nearly 25% of these patients needed intensive care. Fever, tiredness, shortness of breath and dry cough remained some of the initial symptoms. Later, it was reported that some patients also experienced a loss of smell and altered taste. Pink eye and sticky discharge also surfaced as symptoms in some patients. Many people start with mild flu-like symptoms and experience respiratory troubles later. Some patients have also shown signs of diarrhoea and vomiting but these are quite rare.
You should watch out for symptoms if you have travelled to a place that has already reported high cases of coronavirus infection. You should also be careful in case you met someone who soon reported being infected by the virus.
How to Tell apart COVID-19 from Influenza
- The incubation period (time in acquiring infection and showing symptoms) for COVID-19 virus is estimated to be 5-6 days, while for the influenza virus, the serial interval is 3 days, which means influenza can spread faster than COVID-19.
- The number of secondary infections generated, called R-0, from one infected individual – is understood to be between 2 and 2.5 for COVID-19 virus, while it is 1.3 (need to check ) in influenza
- Data suggests that while 80% of infections caused by COVID-19 are mild or asymptomatic, 15% of them are severe in need of oxygen, and 5% are critical for ventilation. The situation in the case of influenza is way milder.
- While children, pregnant women, and the immunosuppressed elderly are prone to infectious influenza, COVID-19 has high stakes among the old people with underlying health conditions accelerating the infection.
- The current mortality rate for COVID-19 is higher than that reported for influenza.
Right Time to See the Doctor
World Health Organization, WHO has prescribed social distancing as one of the most effective measures against COVID-19. It is thus wise to first call your doctor than visiting them. This way you can reduce the exposure of other people. People suffering from shortness of breath with high fever and chest pain should visit the doctor asap. People older than 60 years of age and those with preexisting medical conditions should seek immediate help. If all you have are symptoms that resemble the mild flu, socially distancing is sufficient.
What is the Treatment for COVID-19? Are there any Home Remedies?
According to WHO, there is no medical cure yet. There is no vaccine or antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. Hospitalization is recommended in a crisis situation but otherwise, frequently washing your hands, coughing into bent elbow or tissue, and maintaining the regular 6ft social distance are standard practices to contain COVID-19.
Hope is that investigation is on at a rapid pace; vaccines and medicines are being trialled. But till then, brace yourself and don’t try anything from a quack doctor or alternative over-the-counter medicines. Within home remedies, consume luke-warm water to detoxify your air passage and guts.
Can you Die of COVID-19?
You can die, but you may not. Statistically, the chances of death by COVID-19 are much lesser if one can contain it. This is the very reason why local governments across the world have cracked down on security measures to ensure social distancing and emergency hospitalization for the sick. Death is more likely if one disregards the virus as reported in Italy that ranks second to the US. In India, we are efficiently holding up against the situation running into an acute crisis.