HOW DOES IT SPREAD?
Covid-19 virus spreads very easily from person to person, via respiratory droplets.
When an infected person coughs or breathes out, those droplets are released. Droplets travel approximately up to less than 1 meter in the air then drop down onto surfaces around the patient.
The next person can catch the virus either through direct inhalation or via contact with virus droplets on surfaces.
The incubation period (amount of time between exposure to the virus and development of symptoms of COVID-19) ranges from 1-14 days. It is most commonly 5-6 days.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, fatigue and myalgia (achy muscles). Other less common symptoms include runny nose, headache, sore throat, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The most worrisome outcome of this infection is pneumonia ( chest infection ). It typically occurs around the end of the first week of infection to the beginning of the second week.
About 80% of people who are infected will have a mild-moderate illness that consists of fever and dry cough. This will last about 2 weeks, and then they will get better. About 14% will develop severe illness, and 6% will develop life-threatening illness that requires High- dependency or ICU care.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM THE VIRUS?
There are a few steps you can do to protect yourself.
STEP 1: Avoid people who are sick
STEP 2: Avoid going to crowded areas
STEP 3: Keep a safe distance from others ( 1-2 metres )
STEP 4: Wear a mask when you are out
STEP 5: See a doctor when you are unwell
STEP 6: Be careful not to touch your face after handling your handphone or money.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing or after touching a surface or object potentially contaminated with the virus.
According to the CDC, the virus may remain for several hours to days on surfaces like glass, metal and plastic. The CDC refers to phones and tablets as "high touch" surfaces.
Phones are conduits for many germs. It is possible to contract germs from your phone, especially if touching it before touching your face or mouth without first washing your hands.
By : Dr Chen Yiming
Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)