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Symptoms and therapy for a coronavirus infection
In the meantime, the corona virus has also arrived in Germany. The number of infections is increasing across Europe. More and more people are wondering how the first symptoms of a coronavirus infection become noticeable and what protective measures can be taken.
At the beginning of the year, a new type of corona virus (2019-nCoV) was identified in China that has never been detected in humans before. The first cases of illness in Germany have now been confirmed. How can you become infected and how can you protect yourself?
First symptoms of a coronavirus infection
The symptoms of a coronavirus are similar to a cold. Initially, infected people notice a sore throat, mild fever and a feeling of illness. Diarrhea can also occur. Runny nose has been observed less frequently so far. If there is a severe course with massive spread of the viruses in the lower respiratory tract, shortness of breath also occurs. If the course is difficult, pneumonia follows.
The corona viruses include the MERS corona virus and the SARS corona virus. At the beginning of the year, a new type of corona virus (2019-nCoV) was identified in China that had never been detected in humans before.
How is the corona virus transmitted?
As with a cold, the transmission takes place via smear infection as well as droplet infection. It is still unclear which transmission path plays a major role.
What is the risk?
Nevertheless, the danger of the new coronavirus appears to be significantly lower than that of MERS (up to 30 percent mortality) and SARS (about ten percent mortality), explains the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Security (AGES).
The 2019 nCoV currently assumes a mortality rate of up to three percent. Similar to the seasonal flu caused by influenza viruses (mortality below one percent), the elderly and immunocompromised people are particularly affected.
Transferable from person to person
It is known that the new corona virus is transferable from person to person. However, the risk of transmission from person to person seems to be significantly lower than with seasonal flu. There have also been isolated infections in which people have become infected from those who have apparently not yet shown any symptoms.
When are the first symptoms after a coronavirus infection noticeable?
According to scientific evidence, the incubation period, i.e. the time between infection and onset of the disease, is between 2 and 14 days. However, it could be observed that in some cases the incubation period was much longer. The incubation period says nothing about how long people who feel no symptoms remain infectious. With other viral diseases it has already been observed that the virus can be transmitted over a much longer period of time.
Is there a risk of infection from Chinese goods?
Infection from imported goods is considered very unlikely, since contamination has occurred beforehand and the virus should still be active after the long journey. It is currently still unknown whether the novel corona virus can survive in liquid or dried material for several days.
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Illness can be fatal
According to experts, infections of people with ordinary corona viruses are usually mild and asymptomatic. According to AGES, common signs of infection with the novel corona virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
In more severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
There are also mild forms with cold symptoms and infections without symptoms. It is currently assumed that the course of the disease in the novel coronavirus is less severe than in SARS and MERS.
Only the symptoms can be treated
A specific therapy, that is, directed against the novel coronavirus itself, is currently not available. Treatment is symptomatic, for example by alleviating the symptoms of the disease or using antipyretic.
There is no vaccine against the novel virus. However, according to the RKI, there are advances in the development of vaccines against coronaviruses, especially MERS-CoV vaccines, which are currently being tested in clinical studies but are not yet available for use.
Protection against infection
To avoid the spread of infectious diseases of the respiratory tract, it is recommended to wash your hands several times a day with soap and water. If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands). Direct contact with the sick should be avoided. The minimum distance is about one meter.
Does a mouthguard make sense?
It has not been scientifically proven that wearing a mouth-nose mask (face mask) in public significantly reduces your own risk of infection (no self-protection).
Only in special situations, for example when caring for sick people, can a nose and throat protection reduce the risk of infection by the caregiver.
It can also make sense if the sick wear mouth-nose protection when they move around in public spaces. This can reduce the risk of transmission to other people through droplets (external protection). For optimal effectiveness, however, it is important that the face mask sits correctly and is worn close-fitting. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.