Dr. Sergio Menchaca and Dr. Carlos Madrigal are two medical doctors and One Young World Ambassadors from Mexico. With the purpose of providing our community with verified information about COVID-19, they answer some of our frequently asked questions.
What should we know about COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are transmitted between animals and people, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Recently, a new type of coronavirus named COVID-19 was discovered in Wuhan, China. This new strain has not previously been identified in humans.
The clinical expression of COVID-19 varies. In other words, it may present itself as a mild cold, as asymptomatic or even as severe pneumonia- especially in patients with illnesses that compromise their immune system such as diabetes, high blood pressure, history of coronary disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer, and others.
The World Health Organization has characterised the disease as pandemic, which means that this is a new virus that our immune systems are not ready to fight yet that is widespread across the globe.
What are some of the common symptoms linked to COVID-19?
The most common symptoms are fever and dry cough. In addition, patients may present shortness of breath, nasal congestion, sore throat, headaches, and body aches. Usually these symptoms appear within 2-14 days of exposure.
What can we do to protect ourselves and our communities?
Hygienic procedures are crucial to achieve the proper spread control. Follow these guidelines from WHO:
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Avoid touching your face (eyes, mouth, nose, ears).
Catch your sneezes and coughs in a tissue or your elbow.
Practice isolation and social distancing.
Avoid crowded places and social events.
Keep at least one meter between you and others.
Stay at home unless it is essential that you leave.
Do not crowd hospitals and Emergency Rooms unnecessarily. If you present mild symptoms and are not part of the groups at-risk, the best action you can take is to self-isolate at home for at least 14 days to avoid infecting others. If you present severe symptoms such as persistent high fever (over 39°), difficulty breathing, cough that does not improve, you may need medical assistance. Call the phone number your government may have set up for this purpose or visit your local Emergency Room.
Although we are facing a new virus that could potentially impact many people, we can control this pandemic as a global community if we work today and all do our part.
Follow the recommendations and guidelines provided by the WHO and your local government. In solidarity to those most at risk of facing the more severe aspects of the virus, #StayHome and protect your loved ones.
Carlos Armando Madrigal Iberri is a Medical Doctor who graduated from Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila and currently serves as a HIV fellow at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition in Mexico City.
Sergio Alejandro Menchaca Dávila is a graduate from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and currently serves as a third year resident of Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine at the National Institute for Respiratory Diseases in Mexico City.