The word that we hear incessantly everyday from morning to night of late is COVID -19 or CoronaVirus.
Coronavirus disease is the official name given by the World Health Organization to the disease caused by the newly identified type of coronavirus. These viruses are usually responsible for causing common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections. The world had previously witnessed such respiratory diseases affecting tens and thousands of people. These include the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2014. The current bout of disease has affected more than 210 countries and therefore been declared a pandemic or a disease that has affected a large population or region, country or a continent.
The entire world is engulfed by this pandemic and has brought it to a near standstill. It has been reported that half of humanity today is under lockdown. In such a scenario, it becomes our duty to understand the functioning of this virus, what exactly happens due to the virus and how do we protect ourselves? Let us first try to understand the mechanism through which the virus affects the human body. The basic mechanisms through which it enters the human body is through the nose, mouth or eyes of a person. Upon entering, the virus attaches itself to the cells in the respiratory tract producing a protein known as ACE 2. It fuses with the cell and releases what is known as its RNA. The human cell is now equivalent to being hijacked and infected. This infected cell will now produce proteins based on the “instructions” of the virus’s RNA affecting the upper respiratory tract and spreads to the rest of the lungs. In serious cases, the immune system of the human body will overreact and attack lung cells, in some cases, the infection leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome and possibly causes death.
How does one contract the disease in the first place?
The answer to this is the fact that Covid 19 is a contagious disease and therefore social distancing, covering of the mouth and measures such as lock down have been imposed to prevent the spreading of the disease. When an individual coughs or sneezes, the droplets that escape the lungs can contain droplets of this virus. When the infected person does not cover their mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, and ends up touching surfaces, the virus present on those surfaces enters another person when the next person touches the surfaces and then their face. This way, it spreads directly from one human to another or indirectly through infected surfaces. It is said that on an average Covid-19 patient can infect up to 1.6 to 2.4 other people and it is more fatal and contagious than other known diseases such as influenza due to lack of vaccine.
Once affected, it is said that a person might take up to 14 days to display symptoms or in few cases, remain asymptomatic or not display symptoms at all and still test positive. For those who do display symptoms, these include dry cough, fatigue, low-grade fever, body aches, nasal congestion, and sore throat. The more severe symptoms include high fever, severe cough, and shortness of breath. In 10% to 20% of cases, disease may become severe enough to require ventilatory support. Recent studies suggest that a lost sense of smell, known as anosmia, may also be a symptom of COVID-19 since viral infections are a leading cause of loss of sense of smell. Most carriers of the Covid-19 are among the younger population but the ones most adversely affected are from the senior citizens. This is based on the tests done in Korea, Italy and China.
The precautions that one needs to take to avoid getting infected are:
- First of all, avoid going outdoors, other than when it is absolutely necessary for essential activities
- Practice social distancing while outside and even at home
- Wash hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds
- Usage of sanitizers with 60% alcohol, rub until dry and remember to not go near any source of heat or fire without washing hands with soap after having used a sanitizer
- Avoiding touching of face at all times.
- Clean surfaces with a cleaning spray often
For those infected or are suspecting of being infected, have to mandatorily isolate themselves in order to not infect their fellow companions. Use tissues and discard them appropriately. Hydrate oneself well. If the above mentioned symptoms appear, contact the nearest medical service in the vicinity or call the state helpline number 104 (for general public)
In this situation, it is natural for especially those undergoing Fertility treatments to panic or feel anxious about the effects of the disease, if infected. Although the disease does not discriminate and can affect anyone and everyone, expectant mothers need to pay extra attention as they are considered to be in the vulnerable group. There is no confirmed evidence that the infection can lead to miscarriage or cause fetal abnormality, however, precautions are necessary since there is very less information on dangers that the disease could carry. Especially women with any history of having diabetes, any other respiratory disease or immunosuppression should be extremely careful as the chances of getting infected are high. For those who have started fertility treatment are advised to contact their respective doctors and clinics for further advice.
It is entirely for this reason that we at Janisthaa Fertility Center, with the sole motive of providing the best treatment and care to our patients, have started online consultations and tele-consultations.
We are here for our patients and take all sorts of precautions and care possible to reassure our clients that they do not have to forego their treatments without timely advice. Our staff are following the protocols and ensuring all safety procedures and precautions are adhered to. There is absolutely no need to panic and anybody who wishes to seek some kind of advice can contact our center, login to the website http://jnaistha.local/ and register for Live Video Consultations for further treatment or clarification of doubts from Dr. Swetha herself.