What Exactly Does COVID-19 Do to a Person?

What Exactly Does COVID-19 Do to a Person?

The virus infects the lower respiratory tract and multiplies. It attacks two specific lung cells: mucus producing cells (protecting lungs from pathogens) and ciliated cells (clears debris, including viruses, out of the lungs). Ciliated cells are thought to be the preferred cells that the coronavirus attacks. When the cells are attacked and die, they slough out into the lungs, which fill with debris and fluid. Many patients infected with this virus end up getting pneumonia as a result.

Emergency symptoms for CHILDREN:

  • • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • • Bluish skin color
  • • Not drinking enough fluids
  • • Not waking up or not interacting
  • • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • • Fever with a rash
  • • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with a fever and a worse cough

Emergency symptoms for ADULTS:

  • • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • • Sudden dizziness
  • • Confusion
  • • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with a fever and a worse cough
  • *Additional emergency signs for infants include being unable to eat, no tears when crying, and significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.

The immune system responds to the lungs and, as a result, the lungs become inflamed. While this inflammation is a normal part of fighting infection, in the lungs it can be uncomfortable. In some cases where the immune system is fighting the coronavirus there is a hyper-reactivity of the immune system which results in more healthy tissue dying off in the lungs and worsening the pneumonia.

The inflammation also results in more permeable alveoli, the tiny air sacs in the lungs, filling with fluid and crowding out air so that not enough oxygen can reach the bloodstream. In severe cases, it floods the lungs so a person can no longer breathe. The damage can also cause a cytokine storm, which can result in multi-organ failure.

As damage to the lungs increases, pulmonary destruction escalates quickly. Patients who get to this stage in the coronavirus could incur permanent lung damage in the form of scars that stiffen the lungs, or they may die.

As frightening as this sounds, most people only become mildly ill, or are infected but are asymptomatic, while others show mild symptoms for a few days and then it quickly escalates into more severe symptoms of pneumonia and organ failure. It should be noted that a person who is asymptomatic may be recovering from the virus and still make others ill. It’s not clear how often asymptomatic transmission is occurring. The antibodies produced from this particular virus are weak and often do not provide any immunity to further infections.

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who heads the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, warns, “You have mild cases, which look like the common cold, which have some respiratory symptoms, sore throat, runny nose, fever, all the way through pneumonia. And there can be varying levels of severity of pneumonia all the way through multi-organ failure and death,” she told reporters in Geneva on February 7.

Incidentally, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on February 7 reported that “the most common symptoms were fever, fatigue and dry cough. A third of the patients also reported muscle pain and difficulty breathing, while about 10 percent had atypical symptoms, including diarrhoea and nausea.”

The patients, who ranged in age from 22 to 92, were admitted to the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University between January 1 and 28. “The median age of patients is between 49 and 56 years,” JAMA said. “Cases in children have been rare.

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What Exactly Does COVID-19 Do to a Person?
What Exactly Does COVID-19 Do to a Person?

Patients are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic. However, there have been reports that found an asymptomatic person who transmitted COVID-19 to 5 other people and may have had a longer incubation time of 19 days.

What Exactly Does COVID-19 Do to a Person?

What Exactly Does COVID-19 Do to a Person?

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