The COVID-19 outbreak which has rapidly jumped from epidemic to pandemic has affected over 2 lakh people worldwide with fatality rates being particularly high among the elderly. In this article, Dr. OP Sharma lists the risk factors responsible for infection among older people and specific instructions that doctors can give to vulnerable patients.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that causes upper respiratory tract infection, which may trickle down to the lower respiratory tract causing severe pneumonia, septicaemia, ARDS, and multiorgan failure.
It spreads from person-to-person through large droplets of respiratory secretions predominately from those having LRTI, via the mucous membranes within a distance of 1 metre. The virus has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days with mean incubation period of 5.2 days. The recovery time in mild cases is 2 weeks while in severe cases- 4 to 6 weeks.
Who can be suspected of having infection?
Suspect a person suffering from COVID-19 if the person has fever, weakness, breathlessness, or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath). Any person including healthcare workers who have had close contact with a lab-confirmed patient within 14 days of symptom onset or has a travel history to a corona-affected country should also come under the lens.