Distinguishing Between Coronavirus and Influenza

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Distinguishing Between Coronavirus and Influenza
Distinguishing Between Coronavirus and Influenza

Information regarding the coronavirus is continuously evolving. This update reflects the latest recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). Here's a brief overview of the safety guidelines issued by WHO to minimize the risk of contracting the virus.

The primary mode of transmission has been confirmed to be airborne. The virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets produced during coughing and sneezing. It can travel up to approximately 1 meter, which is why safety guidelines emphasize maintaining this distance between individuals and covering the nose and mouth with the elbow when coughing or sneezing.

Frequent handwashing with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer is essential, as there is a risk of coming into contact with the virus and subsequently touching the mouth or nose, which could lead to infection.

The symptoms of the coronavirus may initially resemble those of the flu, but with some differences. Close attention should be paid to symptoms such as a dry cough, fever, and breathing difficulties.

Even though, according to WHO, the risk of contracting COVID-19 from a person showing no symptoms is very low, it is crucial to strictly follow safety guidelines without distinction because symptoms can go unnoticed in some individuals, making them contagious without anyone realizing it.

The incubation period is estimated to be 14 days but often lasts around five days.

Approximately 80% of individuals infected with COVID-19 recover without treatment; however, one in six individuals is at risk of complications.

Elderly individuals, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk of developing complications.

Directors of retirement homes and nursing homes have implemented strict safety rules concerning the risk of virus transmission and resident protection. Details of these new measures will be covered in a future article on our blog.

Continuation of the Article (February 18, 2020 Version)

While the coronavirus is making headlines, not everyone is fully informed. Amidst the mix of information and misinformation, it's important to clarify some points. What's the difference between the coronavirus and the flu? What are the correct actions to take when in doubt?

During this winter season when the flu is always a concern, the coronavirus is on everyone's mind and causing panic. However, before overwhelming emergency services at the first sign of a fever, it's essential to heed the recommendations from the Ministry of Health and WHO to gain a clearer understanding.

What Is the Coronavirus?

Between November 2002 and July 2003, the world experienced a deadly epidemic caused by the SARS coronavirus, resulting in 774 deaths out of 8,098 reported cases across 29 countries. Eventually, this epidemic was contained. However, the new form of coronavirus recently identified in China, specifically in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, has unique characteristics.

The 2019-nCoV is suspected to have initially been transmitted by animals. The most recent figures from the epidemic indicate 1,018 deaths related to the coronavirus, with 974 occurring in Hubei province. In France, six infection cases were reported until January 31, and five new cases were diagnosed in Savoie at the beginning of February. It's important to note that these cases were clustered, with the second group consisting of vacationers who had stayed in the same chalet as a person from Singapore.

Are the Symptoms of the Coronavirus Identical to the Flu?

There are several similarities between these two viruses. Like the flu, transmission occurs through the air, specifically through respiratory droplets produced by sneezing and coughing. The incubation period is about 6 days, similar to the flu. However, a 14-day quarantine period is observed for safety. During the incubation period, a person is not contagious. The symptoms of the coronavirus do indeed resemble those of the flu: fever, body aches, general fatigue, coughing, and sometimes shortness of breath. Hence, it's challenging to differentiate between the two. However, specific clinical profiles have been established. These include individuals showing signs of acute respiratory infection, a fever above 38°C, and who have been in contact with a person showing symptoms of the virus within the past 14 days, stayed in the same place as a potentially infected person, or have traveled from Hubei province.

Separating Fact from Fiction Regarding the Coronavirus

Without the meeting of these conditions, there is no reason to suspect coronavirus infection, and there's no need to panic. However, in cases of serious doubt, official recommendations specify not going to the emergency room or your regular doctor but contacting the emergency medical services.

At present, there is no evidence to suggest that pets can transmit the virus. Nevertheless, if there are symptoms of infection in pets, the same safety rules as for humans should be followed, as it has been confirmed that certain viruses from the coronavirus family can circulate among animals.

It's important to note that health authorities have not issued any travel restrictions at this time. You can stay informed about countries affected by the epidemic on the WHO website. Additionally, an airport control system has been established to monitor all flights coming from China.

For those staying in China, it is recommended to follow specific safety rules: avoid close contact with people with a fever and cough, avoid contact with live or dead animals, especially in markets, refrain from consuming undercooked meat, and regularly wash hands with soap or hydro-alcoholic solutions.

A Call for Awareness Regarding the Flu

While the coronavirus has captured public attention, the flu often goes unnoticed despite causing thousands of deaths in France. This alarming situation should prompt a general awareness that is often neglected. Healthcare professionals lament this situation, as it is possible to contain the epidemic, and an effective flu vaccine exists. Elderly individuals are particularly vulnerable, and doctors recommend that they get vaccinated.

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