Most people infected with coronavirus experience mild flu-like symptoms. In some cases, the disease develops more severely and at worst becomes life-threatening. But doctors stand ready with heavy gunfire and believe that a new antiviral agent slows the coronavirus.
SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS
More and more people will be infected by the new coronavirus in the first wave of the pandemic. Most people will have symptoms 5-7 days after infection, but it may take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear.
The vast majority of people experience mild illness that does not require hospitalization but merely home care.
Based on a study of 55,924 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the typical symptoms are:
- Fever (87.9 percent)
- Dry cough (67.7 percent)
- Fatigue (38.1 percent)
- Mucus (33.4 percent)
- Breathing difficulty (18.6 percent)
- Sore throat (13.9 percent)
- Headaches (13.6 percent)
- Muscle and joint pain (14.8 percent)
- Chills (11.4 percent)
- Nausea and vomiting (5 percent)
- Stuffed nose (4.8 percent)
- Diarrhea (3.7 percent)
- Coughing up blood (0.9 percent)
- Eye inflammation (0.8 percent)
There are also a few infected who will not notice any symptoms at all.
MILD CASES WITH CORONAVIRUS
Four out of five experience only mild disease if infected with the new coronavirus, a World Health Organization report says.
Typically, the disease will appear as flu-like symptoms, which is why it can be difficult to tell if you are infected with coronavirus or simply have a regular seasonal flu.
By staying home you protect from all illnesses, moreover, you could stop spreading the infection.
When the immune system encounters an infection such as coronavirus, it sends signals to the entire body by triggering special signaling proteins called cytokines. Cytokines help to assist and regulate the immune system. These are also the ones that can, for example, cause fever and joint and muscle pain.
The symptoms of mild cases often include fever, cough, general ailment, sore throat and headache. However, there may be other symptoms as well, and you do not need to have them all at once.
Treatment: Mild coronavirus disease is treated in the same way as a regular flu with plenty of fluid.
SEVERE CASES WITH CORONAVIRUS
14 percent of those infected with coronavirus will experience worsening of their symptoms – often after several days of illness. For example, there may be increased cough, rising fever, pneumonia and shortness of breath that require hospitalization.
When the body responds with worsening symptoms of coronavirus, it may be due to an overreaction from our own immune system. According to Dr. Nathalie MacDermott of King’s College London, the coronavirus can create an imbalance in the immune system, causing too much inflammation in the body – and it can cause inflammation of the lungs.
People primarily at risk of worse symptoms are:
- Senior citizens (especially over 80 years)
- People with chronic illnesses, including diabetes, reduced immune system, high blood pressure, lung disease, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Treatment: Patients with worsening symptoms may be admitted to the hospital. Here, some may need extra oxygen, which can be given, for example, through a mask or a so-called oxygen gasket, which carries small tubes of oxygen into the nose.
Children rarely show severe symptoms
There is currently no indication that children are at increased risk of developing severe symptoms of coronavirus infection.
About 2.5 percent of children under the age of 19 have developed severe symptoms, and only 0.2 percent have developed critical illness.
CRITICAL CASES OF CORONAVIRUS
About 6 percent will be in critical condition after being infected with coronavirus. Here, the symptoms may have developed into acute pulmonary and / or multiorgan failure – also called septic shock.
The immune system is now completely out of control, and the inflammation starts to stop oxygenated blood from reaching around the body’s vital organs. Therefore, one or more organs may begin to expose, and at this stage there is a real risk of the patient dying.
Reports from Italy show that critical mortality rates are high and that most people in this group only survive for 1-2 weeks.
The risk of developing critical symptoms of coronavirus infection is increased in:
- Senior citizens (especially over 80 years)
- People with chronic illness, including diabetes, reduced immune system, high blood pressure, lung disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
In a study of 191 patients with coronavirus , 67 percent of the 54 people who died as a result of the virus had a known pre-existing disease. The disease present at most deaths was high blood pressure, followed by diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Treatment: In the critical condition, the treatment will take place in an intensive care unit where the patient is given invasive help to breathe, for example via a respirator or a heart-lung machine that oxygenates the blood outside the body and pumps it back.
Ebola medicine provides hope for corona patients
Researchers around the world are currently testing so-called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat the new coronavirus.
One of the most promising is the yet approved drug remdesivir. The drug is actually intended for Ebola, but it also seems to work against the new coronavirus. In the United States, doctors gave remdesivir to a corona patient in critical condition and the patient subsequently showed improvement. Neither side effects were reported.
At the time of writing, remdesivir is being tested in five separate clinical trials, and before long, several European hospitals, will offer patients experimental treatment. In Sweden, doctors have already given remedies to severely ill patients.
Results will be presented in the coming time.