According to the study “Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China”, in which the information of 1,099 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 was analyzed, the most common symptoms in those were:
- Fever (88% )
- Cough (69%)
- Fatigue (38%)
- Phlegm or Sputum (34%)
- Difficulty breathing (19%)
In a smaller percentage, sore throat, headache, muscle or joint pain, chills and nasal congestion also occurred. Diarrhea occurred in only 4% of patients.
Dr. Edgar López, director of the Medical Council of Guatemala City, explains the origin of the virus and its different symptoms.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON COVID-19
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses represent a family of viruses that typically cause respiratory illness. These can range from the common cold or flu to more serious illnesses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). These diseases are also caused by coronavirus variants, of which the most recently discovered coronavirus is the one that causes the disease “COVID-19”.
What is the danger of COVID-19?
Infection with the virus initially manifests as a flu:
- 80% of people with symptoms recover without the need for special treatment
- 1 in 6 people with symptoms develop shortness of breath and need hospital care
- It is estimated that contracting the virus carries a mortality risk of 2% according to the WHO. This mortality rate exceeds that of the common cold or flu, and places this pandemic between the 1957 flu (0.6%) and the 1918 Influenza pandemic (2%).
How is COVID-19 spread?
One person can infect 2 or 3 other people. Some contagion mechanisms are known:
- Transmission by direct contact with droplets from the nose or mouth of a person who is infected with the virus.
- These droplets are expelled when the infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales.
- Transmission by indirect contact with droplets:
- When coughing, sneezing or exhaling, micro droplets are spread around. Coronaviruses can survive on objects and surfaces from a few hours to several days. If a person touches these surfaces or objects and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth, it is possible to get COVID-19
How to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus?
PERSONAL PROTECTION AGAINST COVID-19
What can I do to protect myself from contagion?
- Staying more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is coughing or sneezing
- Avoid crowds of people..
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Stay home if you are sick
¿Should I wear a mask?
Until now, el Ministerio de Salud de Guatemala does not recommend wearing a mask. These are the recommendations of the different entities:
- La OMS recomienda utilizar una mascarilla f you have a cough or sneeze or are caring for a person infected with COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recomienda usar una mascarilla only if a health care professional recommends it
Both institutions recommend wearing a mask in case of having the disease.
DIAGNOSIS OF INFECTION WITH COVID-19
When should I get tested for COVID-19?
A medical professional should determine the need for testing.
Consult a doctor immediately if:
- Has a fever (body temperature greater than 38.1 ºC, measured with a thermometer)
- Dry cough or cough with phlegm/sputum or other respiratory symptom
And if you additionally have the background of:
- Travel to or from an epidemic location in the last 14 days
- Contact with a person with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19
Where can I get a COVID-19 screening test in Guatemala?
- The Guatemalan Ministry of Health can coordinate the sample collection by contacting the number 1517
- Additionally, a medical professional may indicate, if deemed necessary, to carry out the test in a private laboratory or hospital.
What is the test or screening for COVID-19?
The test consists of an oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal swab taken by the ministry’s health services or by trained medical personnel.
The pruebas serán recibidas by the National Health Laboratory (LNS) of Guatemala, where they will be processed to rule out or confirm the diagnosis of the coronavirus.
Is there any treatment?
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. Treatment consists of supportive measures to help relieve symptoms. These measures include fever control, fluid administration, and respiratory support if necessary..
Can I take antibiotic?
No. Antibiotics work exclusively to fight bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics have no effect against it. What’s more, since many antibiotics have side effects, using them to treat a virus exposes you to an unnecessary health risk.
Can I take antiviral?
You must follow your doctor’s instructions. At the moment, there is no antiviral drug officially recommended by institutions such as the CDC or WHO. This is because there is still not enough information on the effect of possible drugs against the virus, and above all, on the body of patients.
There are currently several estudios clínicos randomizados to find medicines against COVID-19. The drugs under study are:
In China, the use of Favilavir has already been approved, however the study has not yet been published. Oseltamivir was also used, however it has not been concluded if it represents a benefit for the patient.
Is there a vaccine against COVID-19?
Not yet. To date, there is no specific vaccine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. It is important to deny some rumors that are circulating:
- Pneumonia vaccines, such as pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine, do not protect against the new coronavirus.
- Israel’s Biological Research Institute has not developed a coronavirus vaccine, a rumor denied by Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennet.
POSITIVE CASES IN THE AMERICAS
At the time of writing, the number of cases in the Americas totals 2,065 confirmed cases. However, this information is updated daily in the mapa interactivo proporcionado por la Organización Panamericana de la Salud.
SUMMARY OF THE COVID-19 SITUATION IN GUATEMALA
- There is already a confirmed case
- If you have a fever, cough or flu symptoms and traveled to an epidemic country or were in contact with someone diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19, contact your doctor and 1517
- 80% of infected people do not need hospital care
- Protect yourself by avoiding crowds and disinfecting your hands
- Wear a mask if you are currently coughing or sneezing