What is Covid-19?

The disease caused by the Sars Cov-2 virus is called Covid -19. Sars Cov-2 is a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are from the family Coronaviridae. In daily life, coronaviruses are viruses that usually cause upper respiratory tract infections or colds and cause clinically mild diseases. Sars Cov-2 is transmitted mainly by respiratory route. Sars Cov-2 has the ability to bind to receptors called ACE-2 found in many cells of the body. The factors that make the disease important are that it is easily transmitted from person to person and that a significant number of patients have lung involvement, namely covid-19 pneumonia. In some of those with Covid-19 pneumonia, severe respiratory failure due to widespread lung involvement and intensive care follow-up may be necessary due to artificial respiration device. Unfortunately, some of these patients may die. According to an article published on the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, it has been shown that the death rate for those hospitalized for Covid 19 disease can be more than 5 times higher than for those hospitalized for seasonal flu. On the other hand, when all patients infected with Sars Cov-2 virus are examined, it is observed that the disease progresses asymptomatically or with symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in most of the patients. Although the number of cases resulting in respiratory failure and death is relatively low, the number of patients with severe Covid-19 is also high because the disease is rapidly transmitted to many people.

How is Covid-19 transmitted?

An individual infected with Sars Cov-2 virus can cough, sneeze, talk, etc., small particles and droplets containing the virus. These particles or droplets containing viruses can be inhaled by other people, and thus these individuals can be infected with the virus. The respiratory tract is the main mode of transmission of the Sars Cov-2 virus. In addition, these particles or droplets, which are released into the ambient air by the infected person and contain viruses, can directly stick to the mouths, noses, eyes of other individuals. Or sometimes these particles or droplets can contaminate the surrounding items. It can also be transmitted due to touching the surrounding items. Even if it is accepted that the virus can be transmitted by contact with the goods, this probability is quite low. The virus can be transmitted through the respiratory tract up to the mouth, nose, upper airways and alveoli, the smallest unit of the lungs where gas is exchanged. Therefore, wearing a mask is very important to prevent virus transmission. Not every individual who is infected or exposed to the virus becomes sick. This suggests that some people may have a natural immunity to the virus.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19?

Patients with Covid-19 have a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe disease symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The main symptoms of Covid-19 are sore throat, runny nose, fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, muscle aches, joint pain, backache, pain in the whole body, headache, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Patients may experience other symptoms as well. Patients are not expected to have all symptoms. There may be additional symptoms in those with concomitant chronic diseases or in the elderly.

Why is Covid-19 a life-threatening disease?

The main problem seen in COVID-19 is lung involvement. One of the most important features of Sars Cov-2 virus is that it easily adheres to ACE-2 receptors found in type-2 cells in the lungs and enters these cells easily. The virus, which binds to and enters mainly type 2 cells in the lungs, initiates a series of inflammatory events; Many inflammatory cells come to the lungs. In fact, the lungs almost always respond to foreign particles or microorganisms that come into the lungs with an inflammatory reaction. This is also the case with Covid-19. In a significant part of patients with lung involvement, the process ends with recovery without leaving any significant problems in the lungs, but in some patients, lung involvement may lead to an abnormal inflammatory response, which may lead to widespread involvement in the lungs and severe respiratory failure. For different reasons, the prevalence of Covid-19 pneumonia in the lungs may increase and respiratory failure may develop. It may be necessary to give high oxygen to patients with severe respiratory failure with a ventilator. Furthermore, patients with Covid-19 may have more coagulation problems than those with other pneumonias. There may be localized clots (thrombi) in the lungs, as well as clots in the great vessels of the lungs. One of the most important factors contributing to respiratory failure is this clot formation observed in Covid-19. Since there are ACE-2 receptors in many organs of the body, such as the heart, other organs of patients with Covid-19 may also be affected by the Sars Cov-2 virus.

What is the Covid-19 treatment like?

There is no known definitive cure for Covid-19. There is no drug that completely cures the Sars Cov-2 virus-specific disease in patients with Covid 19. Monoclonal antibodies have been shown to be useful in the early stages of the disease. Hospitalized patients may benefit from supportive therapy including appropriate hydration and vitamins, blood thinners, cortisone therapy, and oxygen therapy. Intensive care follow-up and use of ventilators may be necessary for some patients.

The most important action to be taken in epidemics is to prevent getting sick and thus preventing the spread of the disease. The most effective method for this is vaccination. In addition to being vaccinated, it is very important to comply with the rules of isolation/contact and to wear a mask, especially since the Covid-19 disease is highly transmitted by respiratory tract.

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