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Respiratory Bug (Coronavirus) Is Going Around

If you’re feeling like you’ve simply had enough of the miserable cough and cold bugs this season, you are in good company. I feel like it’s been a particularly bad season this year, and just when I think it is starting to let up, we’ve got a new bug on the forefront: Coronavirus.

Coronavirus is a common virus that causes mild-to-moderate upper respiratory illness. To date, there are 5 different Coronavirus strains that make people sick (that I’m aware of). The infamous SARS outbreak of 2003 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) of 2012 are both Coronavirus strains. Fear not, the strain that we are seeing in our community right now though is not SARS or MERS. Random trivia, the virus is called Coronavirus because the little virions look like spikes on a crown under the microscope (take that piece of trivia to your next dinner party).

Coronavirus top 10 quick facts:

  1. Most people will get infected at some point in their life with Coronavirus.
  2. Young children are far more likely to get it.
  3. You can get infected over and over with it (there isn’t life-long immunity with it).
  4. Symptoms include: runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever. (Kind of sounds like every other bug right?)
  5. It’s usually a fall and winter bug, which makes the outbreak in our community this time of year even more interesting.
  6. It’s easily spread from person-to-person through the air by coughing and sneezing, or via direct contact, like touching or shaking hands.
  7. There are no vaccines against it.
  8. Reduce transmission by frequently washing hands, staying away from sick people, and not touching your face.
  9. There is no cure. Treatment is all symptomatic (i.e., decongestants, humidifiers, fever medications, rest, fluids) until your body conquers the bug on its own.
  10. The diagnosis is made by a clinical test (swabs up the nose are easiest, but blood tests also exist). Most doctors don’t bother to test, since there isn’t a specific treatment anyhow and the test is costly, takes time, and isn’t comfortable.

Hopefully, you’ll manage to avoid this one, but in case you don’t, at least you’ll know what you’re up against. Stay healthy!