Coronavirus : Symptoms and modes of transmission


The coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to spread exponentially. The virus is present on all continents, with areas of aggregation, Europe and China are the most affected regions.

What are the symptoms to watch for?

The main symptoms to watch for are fever and signs of breathing difficulties such as coughing or shortness of breath.

  • A fever above 37.5°C
  • A dry or wet cough
  • coughing, tightness, and/or chest pain sometimes with shortness of breath
  • Shivering
  • Aches and pains
  • Unusual fatigue and Headaches.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has issued an alert to professionals: patients consulting for conjunctivitis could be suffering from the coronavirus. They advise: Patients who also have a fever and respiratory symptoms, including cough and shortness of breath, and who have recently traveled abroad or have family members who have recently returned from one of these countries could represent cases of COVID-19.

So far, the symptoms have included fever, cough, fatigue, a headache, sore throat, respiratory discomfort, aches, and pains. Are the loss of taste (ageusia) and loss of smell (anosmia), noted by several Covid-19 patients.

Coronavirus Symptoms and modes of transmission

Coronavirus or influenza? The difference?

The problem is that the signs described above are also classic flu symptoms. However, infectious disease and illness specialists explain that in the case of influenza, the signs are slightly different. What is striking about the flu is that it comes down on you suddenly. Symptoms appear suddenly, and patients can often even give the exact time. With the flu, there is also very often severe pain in the muscles and joints. These two signs are not typical for coronavirus infection.

The Covid-19 virus is not the flu virus– Before specifying that it doesn’t have the profile or even the signs. The affected profiles are not the same. We must be careful with this new virus. Nevertheless, he also added that in most cases (80% to 85%), the disease is benign. Our attention must focus on the frail, especially the elderly.

In any case, if your condition worsens, if you have difficulty breathing, contact your doctor.

I’m sick, what can I do?

In case of a cough, fever, stay strictly confined until you are cured, avoid contact with other people. Your children and spouse must also remain confined.

  • Monitor your temperature morning and evening and if necessary, take paracetamol
  • Do not go to your doctor, medical lab, or emergency room.
  • If necessary, call your attending Doctor by teleconsultation.
  • It is possible to receive a notice, a prescription, a work stoppage by calling your attending doc.

If your condition worsens, and you have difficulty breathing or feel short of breath, call the emergency number listed for Covid-19 in your country immediately.

Do not Self-Medicate!

Serious adverse events related to the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been reported in patients with COVID-19. Health Specialists reminds that “treatment of poorly tolerated fever or pain in patients with COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses is based on paracetamol.

There is no cure for coronavirus, so treatment consists of relieving symptoms (pain, fever) with paracetamol and hydration in case of fever. Rest, natural solutions (Herbal teas, lemon, honey…) do not cure but help to better support the symptoms.

The symptoms of this virus can last up to two weeks. A fever that rises sharply or symptoms that worsen or appear, such as headaches, during the second week, shortness of breath, and feeling short of air are signs of worsening.

How is the coronavirus transmitted?

Covid-19 -responsible for the disease is spread between humans by air, but 80% of it is spread by manual contact or through a contaminated object.

We can catch the Covid-19 virus if we drink from the same glass as an infected person, if we kiss him/her, if he/she sneezes not far from us, if he/she does not wash his/her hands and if we touch the same objects as him/her.

The disease is transmitted through sputtering (sneezing, coughing). It is therefore considered that close contact with a sick person is necessary to transmit the disease: the same place of living, direct contact within one meter when coughing, sneezing or talking in the absence of protective measures. One of the preferred vectors of virus transmission is contact with unwashed hands. The coronavirus survives for a few hours in the outdoor environment on dry inert surfaces. In an aqueous environment, these viruses can survive for several days.

Covid-19 is highly contagious: its replication rate is two, i.e. a case in the presence of 100 people can potentially infect two people. This is the same contagiousness of a cold, but much less contagiousness than measles. But if the coronavirus is highly contagious, it is because it spreads in an unimmunized and unvaccinated population. Unlike the flu, there is no immunological barrier to limit its spread. This explains the exponential growth in the number of cases.


What surfaces should be cleaned to avoid contamination?

Should we spend our time confined to cleaning? What do we know about the persistence of the coronavirus on surfaces? If someone in the household is ill and shows symptoms (coughing, sneezing..), the answer is Yes. In addition to regular cleaning, surfaces that are frequently touched with hands should be cleaned and disinfected twice a day, especially when they are visibly soiled. “These are surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by hands: door handles, switches, tables, floors, keys, telephones, keyboards, etc.”. Commonly used cleaning products (such as bleach) are effective against Covid-19.

Are gloves useful for protection?

The answer is clear: No. The problem: when coughing, sneezing, talking, respiratory droplets get onto the gloves, which then act as a carrier for the virus. What’s more, because you wear gloves, you feel protected and pay less attention to your actions. The ideal way to put your (gloved) hands everywhere and to transmit the virus. Wearing gloves is unnecessary. Except in very specific situations: healthcare personnel taking samples or performing risky gestures.” Remember the barrier gestures: frequent hand washing, coughing into one’s elbow, using single-use tissues and throwing them away after use, and social distancing measures.

Can one be contaminated through contact with a person who has no symptoms?

The risk of being contaminated through contact with a person who does not have any symptoms is very low.

However, many people with the disease are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. It is, therefore, possible to contract the virus through contact with a person who, for example, has only a mild cough but does not feel sick.

The important thing to remember is that being infected by someone who has no symptoms seems unlikely. A healthy carrier is necessarily less contagious since he or she does not cough (the virus is transmitted through droplets emitted during coughing and sneezing.). This is not very likely. Because to be contagious you must excrete droplets cough and sneeze. So, someone who has no symptoms could be a carrier – it’s very likely and we find some from time to time with symptomless forms, but ultimately have little means of spreading the virus.

How to avoid the coronavirus?

To protect oneself from the virus, the French health authorities recommend the barrier gestures that have proven their effectiveness against the flu virus:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap.
  • Coughing and sneezing in the crook of his elbow
  • Greet each other without shaking hands, avoid hugs
  • Use a disposable tissue and discard it
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wear a mask when you are ill
  • Avoid unnecessary meetings, teleworking privileged
  • Avoid all travel except in an emergency

Coronavirus is a respiratory disease that is transmitted in 80% of cases by the hands. “Wash your hands! ». On average, we touch our faces with our hands once a minute… The nose, eyes, and mouth are the entry points for viruses and bacteria. Hand hygiene is therefore essential and hand washing is much more effective than wearing a mask.

corona mask

The most effective mask?

In large cities, wearing a mask is becoming more and more commons. So much so that pharmacies are out of stock. The most used masks, surgical masks, also known as anti-projection masks, are recommended for symptomatically ill people, i.e. coughing or sneezing. The aim is to prevent the airborne spread of the disease by sputum.

How is the coronavirus diagnosed?

People who are fragile due to pathology and those over 70 years old, presenting symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, at risk of developing complications (respiratory insufficiency, immunosuppressed)

Why don’t we test for every suspicious case?

Systematic contact tracing is no longer necessary. All patients with symptoms would saturate the screening network. In short, only patients with a severe clinical condition, hospitalized patients, health professionals, and residents of medical-social institutions with symptoms are tested.

It should be noted that the counting of cases is no longer based solely on biologically diagnosed cases, but on epidemiological estimates, as is done for influenza every year (number of consultations, number of serious cases or deaths, etc.).

How long are we sick and contagious?

According to the current state of scientific knowledge, the incubation period of the virus is 14 days maximum. On the other hand, we do not know how long the virus can be detected in no longer ill person. Even if a person can be contagious when they have no symptoms yet, it still seems unlikely.

According to current knowledge, symptoms would be present from a few days to a maximum of two weeks. In several cases, symptoms worsen or progress (e.g. headache, fever) from the second week onwards. In case of doubt, contact your doctor or make a teleconsultation.

Coronavirus: What are the risks?

To date, the most severe cases seem to concern mainly vulnerable people because of their age or associated illnesses. Available scientific data suggest that the virus can cause symptoms like those of moderate flu, but also more severe symptoms. In these cases, the patient may experience acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute renal failure, or even multi-visceral failure that can lead to death.

The disease can also progress over time in a patient. Patients with pre-existing chronic conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver disease, respiratory diseases seem more likely to develop severe forms, as well as the elderly. Finally, it should be noted that 75% of the people who died in China were suffering from chronic diseases and 80% were elderly.

Coronavirus and diabetes

Type 1 or 2 diabetics would be more at risk, due to the permanent rise in blood sugar levels that can alter the immune system. As well as conversely, infections can unbalance blood sugar levels and/or aggravate certain complications of diabetes already present. To protect themselves, diabetics must, therefore, respect barrier gestures: do not shake hands, wash their hands regularly, do not kiss, cough or sneeze into their elbow.

Coronavirus and pregnant women

According to the current state of knowledge, pregnant women do not suffer more symptoms and are not at greater risk of complications than the rest of the population. Nevertheless, they must be vigilant, carefully respect barrier gestures, and remain confined.

Coronavirus and Asthma

Asthmatics are among those at risk, but there is no need to panic, as confirmed by the association Asthma and allergies: “asthmatics are no more likely to be contaminated by the Covid-19 coronavirus than the rest of the population (provided that asthma is well controlled)”. On the other hand, she adds, they are “more likely to develop respiratory complications in the event of contamination.” Caution! Concerning the anti-inflammatory drugs to be replaced by paracetamol in case of symptoms (Sore throat, fever…), asthmatics should not stop their treatment! Taking inhaled corticosteroids is not at risk. As for corticosteroids in tablet form, “the minimum dose to control asthma must be continued, according to your doctor’s advice.”

Are young adults affected?

Thanks to the containment measures that have been put in place, the speed of the spread of the virus is slowing down. The aim is to limit the number of people affected by the virus at the same time. the type of people affected by the virus, and the distribution of simple cases (according to age or the existence of several diseases), is not changed. In short, the profiles of the more severely affected people (elderly and frail people) remain in most cases unchanged.

Nevertheless, international studies show us that while frail people are most at risk of developing a serious form of coronavirus infection, the entire population may also be affected: A few severe cases outside the elderly or frail have indeed been observed in other countries.

The psychological consequences of containment?

In China, the epicenter of the epidemic, several studies have been conducted to understand the psychological impact of containment on the population. A study published in General Psychiatry and conducted among 52,000 people in 36 Chinese provinces concluded that due to containment, 35% of respondents were suffering from “moderate psychological stress” and 5% from “severe psychological stress.” According to this study, these disorders are more common among women, individuals between the ages of 18 and 30, and those over 60 years of age. According to a review of more than 3,000 previous publications, published in The Lancet, when the confinement period lasts more than 10 days, post-traumatic symptoms, avoidance behaviors, and anger are likely to appear.

Anxiety-related to the virus and the anxiety generated by symptoms and social isolation generates stress. Specialists advise to keep family, friends, professional interactions to a minimum… via the telephone, couriers and even support groups.

Has the coronavirus mutated?

According to the latest scientific data, there are two circulating strains of the virus

The L-strain and the S-strain

The S strain would be older than the L train. It would be less aggressive and less frequent (30% of samples). The L strain would be the circulating strain, the most severe and the most frequent (70% of the samples tested in the study). At this stage, there is no way to confirm whether the mutation has occurred in humans or intermediate hosts (animals). Thanks to the means of detection and control measures against the coronavirus, the circulation of the L strain, which is more severe and therefore more easily detectable, tends to decrease.

Coronavirus and travel: What you need to know

If you have recently traveled to China, Singapore, South Korea, Italy, Iran, or any other country affected by the outbreak and your present symptoms (fever, breathing difficulties) within 14 days of return:

  • Do not go to the emergency room, or you risk spreading the virus!
  • Contact the Emergency Department reporting these symptoms and your recent stay in an epidemic country. An ambulance will come to pick you up.
  • In the meantime, avoid all contact with those around you and wear your mask.

Similarly, if you have traveled to a high-risk area within 14 days of your return:

  • Monitor your temperature twice a day.
  • Watch for symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, difficulty breathing…).
  • Wear a surgical mask when you are in front of another person and when you must go out.
  • Wash your hands regularly or use a hydrous solution. Evite every contact with Fragile people.

Avoid frequenting places where fragile people are present (Hospitals, maternity wards, old people’s homes…).

Avoid all non-essential outings (Large gatherings, restaurants, cinema…).

Workers/Students: as far as possible, favor teleworking and avoid close contacts (Meetings, lifts, canteen…).

Children, junior high school, and high school students should not be sent to the school, college, given the difficulty of wearing a mask all day long.

Coronavirus Covid-19: has treatment been found?

Until now there is no specific treatment has been identified for Covid-19. Several treatments, currently used in other viral pathologies, are being evaluated in several countries. In the meantime, treatment is symptomatic. A few studies have been carried out, but they are not performed on sufficiently large or inadequately supported cohorts. Nevertheless, as always, there are many avenues under investigation when dealing with a new virus.

Virologists and scientists say that a classical antiviral, which is mainly used against Ebola, will be one of the first molecules tested. Then an antiretroviral that is a product specifically against the spread of HIV, and then a third formulation that mixes an antiretroviral and a molecule involved in the immune system to see if it enhances the effect of that antiretroviral. If we see that these molecules are ineffective, we can take them out and include others.

corona covid-19

Beware of Miracles Remedies

To date, no treatment has been validated by international authorities against the new coronavirus.

What is the origin of the coronavirus epidemic?

Most of the cases initially described involved people who had frequented a live-animal market, so scientists have favored the hypothesis of a zoonosis (disease transmitted by animals). Have you ever heard of the pangolin? According to a study published by the South China Agricultural University, this small scaly mammal is believed to have facilitated the transmission of the Covid-19 virus from bats to humans.

Although scientists are almost certain that the source of the epidemic is the bat, the virus present in the bat could not reach humans directly, due to a lack of appropriate receptors. It thus lacked an “intermediate host”: after having swept away the snake hypothesis, the experts turned their attention to the pangolin. This resolutely exotic mammal — which is illegally trafficked in Asia with about 100,000 specimens poached every year — has viral sequences that are 99% identical to those found in sick people.

Some scientists call for caution about this hypothesis – the evidence for which has (for the moment) not been published in the scientific literature.

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