Experts suggest keeping as much social distance as possible.
With the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected thousands of people and led to many deaths across the globe, there is a sense of panic across countries. There are accounts of people stockpiling essentials, leaving others in need empty-handed. Some have been creating confusion by sharing information from unreliable sources. Since the disease has reached a pandemic status, it is critical to share only the right information.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shared some crucial information that helps alleviate unnecessary fear and assist us to reach out for help at the right moment. The most common concern is the fact that the symptoms of COVID-19 infection overlap with the common cold and flu. The CDC has chosen to address this through a simple chart.
It is important to note that the symptoms of corona-virus infection show up two to 14 days after exposure and it primarily manifests as a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Those tested positive have had symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The extreme cases ended with death.
CORONAVIRUS: To better understand the symptoms of the expanding #coronavirus #outbreak, this chart gives a breakdown of some of the most common symptoms and how they compare to the flu, cold and allergies. pic.twitter.com/8tGrenZIbk— KSBW Action News 8 (@ksbw) March 9, 2020
According to the flow chart, you can understand your symptoms better by answering the questions with "yes" or "no." It begins with checking if you are running a temperature and then addresses other common symptoms. In a series of questions, you will be able to understand how close your symptoms are to those of the disease.
Although the CDC graphic is simple and straightforward, a few experts believe it is not comprehensive. This is because some doctors note that symptoms appear at varying intensity and form in different individuals. "From a clinical perspective, I don't think it is possible to distinguish Covid-19 from influenza or some other respiratory pathogens," John Swartzberg, a clinical professor at UC Berkeley's Infectious Disease and Vaccinology Division, told the San Francisco Gate. He wants people to use this tool with caution though. Reaching out to medical experts is important for correct diagnosis.
"Shortness of breath can occur with any of these, granted, Covid is more likely to do this. The only way to make a diagnosis is to have a test. If you have influenza, there is a good and fairly quick test for this, and there is a medication to take. The reason is influenza is a treatable disease with Tamiflu," added Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist and director of UCSF's Prevention and Public Health Group. "They can do a nasal swab on the spot and they can treat you right on the spot," he added.
According to Rutherford, it's important to stay home when unwell but when people do visit the doctor, they should ask for masks as soon as they reach the premises. The CDC also recommends that if you think you are a possible patient or it's been confirmed that you have it, you should stay home. "People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis," they recommend.
A few other experts note that you may have no symptoms and yet be tested positive, which put others who are more vulnerable at risk, according to CNN. In order to not enable asymptomatic transmission, it is recommended that you retain social distance. Keep in mind the elderly and those whose immunity may not be as strong as yours—the immunocompromised.
Reach out to your GP or local social worker if you need assistance for yourself or for people you may know.