The Sars2-COVID is a virus that began approximately, over a year ago in December 2019 and was thought to originate from Wuhan, China. Spreading on a global scale and eventually leading to a global pandemic, this virus spread from individual to individual by exchange of respiratory droplets. This means that an infected person who coughs around those non infected individuals leads to an inhalation of the droplets by an exposed individual leading to infection.
The incubation time after exposure to coronavirus is anywhere from 2 to 14 days and symptoms may appear within five days. Due to the incubation time of 2 to 14 days, it is advised to do testing, no earlier than at least 48 hours after exposure.
Testing is done using a polymerase chain reaction nasal pharyngeal swab to confirm active infection. There have been laboratory blood tests, looking for IgM and IgG antibodies that do not indicate active or current infection and rather reflects a past infection, revealing that the patient had been exposed to coronavirus before.
Symptoms of coronavirus include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Loss of smell
- Loss of taste
The last two symptoms are very characteristic of the coronavirus infection.
Diagnosis is based off of clinical symptoms and the patient’s need to be triaged appropriately via video or telephone encounters to minimize risk and exposure to other individuals. Testing that should be offered and scheduled and the patients should be counseled to remain in quarantine for at least a 14-day period and maintain at least a six feet social distance from other individuals.
Treatment is based on symptoms and is includes supportive measures, as there is no cure or treatment for the coronavirus. Supportive measures include rest, fluids, Tylenol as needed for fevers and/or body aches, social distancing where the patient stays in a separate bedroom and bathroom until a 14day period has passed. Inhalers can be prescribed should they experience shortness of breath, which can be prescribed by a provider.
Patients who are experiencing severe symptoms from COVID-19, requiring hospitalization can be followed with a series of lab tests to assess their prognosis including:
Lactate dehydrogenase levels
The coronavirus is known to cause injury to the heart tissue, resulting in increased troponin levels which mimics myocardial infarct.
The coronavirus can also increase the risk of blood clots making it important to order such tests to rule out possibility clots to the lungs that may result in chest pain symptoms.
Among other complications of COVID 19.