In Florida, cases of COVID-19 have been surging since early July. Although businesses, beaches, and schools are open, the virus is still spreading.
No one enjoys the changes this pandemic has brought about — being restricted from socializing with friends and family, traveling through the world, or even breathing the fresh air outside.
The team at Nation’s Best Health Care wants you to remain healthy until we can all return to normal life. Understanding how the virus moves from one person to the next gives you a better chance of protecting yourself and your family.
Scientists and doctors are still learning about COVID-19. There are still plenty of questions regarding how it affects the body, what the long-term effects might be, and what we can do to minimize its impact.
Here’s what doctors know now about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Researchers have carefully studied how the virus infects a person. There are still many questions regarding how it can and can’t spread, but scientists have reached some conclusions about how the virus enters your body.
Coronaviruses are named for the spikes on the virus cell surfaces that look like points of a crown. Corona is the Latin word for crown.
Coronaviruses use those spikes to attach to your body. They attach firmly to cell receptors and then release their genetic material. The cells that they are attached to become hosts and help the virus spread.
The virus that causes COVID-19 attaches to a specific cell receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). ACE2 receptors are located throughout your body, but the ones in your nose, mouth, back of your throat, and lungs are most at risk of infection.
This is why the CDC recommends wearing masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
How does your immune system respond?
If you’re exposed to the novel coronavirus and it enters your body, your immune system works to kill the virus and create antibodies that can protect you from future infection.
When everything goes perfectly, your immune system is successful and kills the virus before you even know you have it. This is what happens in cases where people are asymptomatic.
However, people who have immune system disorders or respiratory conditions may not fare as well. People who have heart conditions, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease should also be particularly cautious because they also have a higher risk of developing complications from the virus.
Even if you don’t have any preexisting conditions, you should try to help stop the spread of the virus. Thorough and frequent handwashing, with soap, for at least 20 seconds prevents you from transferring the virus from surfaces into your body.
Wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance from others are also important precautions. Avoiding crowds where you may not be able to maintain the proper distance can help limit the spread of the virus, as well.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
If you develop symptoms, it means your body is working to fend off the virus.
- Dry cough
- Problems breathing
- Aches and pains
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
Even if you have symptoms, your chances of fending off the virus and recovering are good. Most people recover fully without developing life-threatening complications. But you should be aware that even people who don’t have significant risk factors sometimes develop serious cases of COVID-19.
For more information about protecting yourself and your family, or to learn what you should do if someone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19, contact our team at Nation’s Best Health Care.