Viruses and Respiratory Infections
Now let’s learn about how respiratory infections, like COVID-19, are transmitted and what actions you can take to prevent the spread of infections.
A virus is a tiny infectious agent that is too small to be seen with the human eye or even under a normal microscope. They can only replicate and multiply if inside a living organism such as a human, animal, or plant which acts as the host.
Respiratory viruses like to infect the lungs and airways. Respiratory infections tend to affect the normal function of the lungs causing breathing problems.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
The new coronavirus is spread from one person to another primarily through respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. According to recent reports, it may be possible that people infected with the novel coronavirus spread the virus before showing significant symptoms.
Some patients with confirmed infections with the novel coronavirus have showed little to no symptoms while others have become severely ill and died. Symptoms of infection include: Fever, cough and shortness of breath. At this time, it is believed that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Scientists are working hard to understand this new virus and produce a vaccine. Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. Therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention.