COVID-19 (coronavirus)

SARS-CoV-2 is the name given to the new strain of coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease.

Overview

SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2) is the name given to the new strain of coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Like all other viruses, the coronavirus mutates over time, giving rise to new variants. This also changes the symptoms and clinical course of the disease. However, a fever, dry cough and a general feeling of being unwell are common signs of infection. Most people experience mild symptoms that clear up after a few days. However, the disease can take a more serious and potentially fatal course, leading, among other things, to severe shortness of breath and pneumonia in persons at risk (in particular, people who are elderly and/or have a chronic disease).

Symptoms

General symptoms

The disease caused by the virus is known as COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). It has a very wide range of symptoms, but the most common are:

Possible progression

Some infected people may have no symptoms or barely notice that they are ill, while others will become seriously ill and require intensive care in hospital.

Persons particularly at risk
  • Older people (the risk of contracting a severe case increases steadily from the age of 50-60)
  • Men
  • Pregnant women
  • People with Down's syndrome (trisomy 21)
People with certain pre-existing conditions
  • Cardiovascular disease (e.g. coronary heart disease and high blood pressure)
  • Chronic lung disease (e.g. COPD)
  • Chronic liver or kidney disease (especially if dialysis is required)
  • Neurological or psychiatric disease (e.g. dementia)
  • Patients with diabetes mellitus
  • Patients with cancer
  • Patients with a weakened immune system (e. g. due to a disease associated with immunodeficiency or because they regularly take medication that suppresses the immune system)
  • Smokers
  • Excess weight and obesity
  • Undernourished persons

Cause and treatment

Cause

  • Infection with the "SARS-CoV-2” strain of coronavirus
    • First identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019
    • Virus originated in animals and was transmitted to humans
General
  • Persons of all ages can catch the infection
  • Classified as a pandemic by the WHO
Transmission
  • Via droplet infection (respiratory tract secretions, sneezing, coughing)
    • The virus enters the body via the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes
    • As a rule, close contact (< 1.5 metres) with an infected person is needed for transmission
  • Via aerosols (via aerosols over both short and longer distances, primarily in small and poorly ventilated indoor spaces)
  • Via the hands and surfaces (door handles, buttons, etc.)
    • Transmitted via the hands: contact with the virus, then touching the face, for example
Incubation period
  • Time from infection to first symptoms
  • Between 5 and up to 14 days
  • It's possible to infect someone else with the virus two days before symptoms appear

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Physical examination
  • Laboratory test (e.g. PCR protocol)
    • Virus swab
    • Nasal, pharyngeal or lower respiratory tract secretion
  • Oxygen saturation measurement
  • Blood test (e.g. blood gas analysis)
Possible therapies
  • Outpatient treatment
    • Mild progression without risk factors
  • Inpatient treatment
    • Only if condition worsens
    • Monitoring of vital signs (oxygen saturation, blood pressure, pulse, etc.)
    • Supply of oxygen
    • Trial with existing medication, e.g. anti-virals, if necessary
    • Treatment in intensive care unit, with artificial respiration among other things, if necessary

What can I do myself?

Observe general measures to prevent infection
  • Get vaccinated
  • Wear a mask
  • Air rooms several times a day
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your arm
  • Wash your hands thoroughly or use sanitiser
  • Get help if suffering from long-term effects, loneliness or worries

Follow government orders during the pandemic.

When to see a doctor?

  • Contact your family doctor or a hospital by phone if you have a fever, a cough, breathing problems or flu symptoms
  • The general rule: DON’T go to the emergency department every time you have the sniffles (relieves pressure on the emergency services)

Long COVID (post-COVID-19 condition)

Some people still experience certain effects weeks or months after a coronavirus infection.

Further information

Current information and federal government instructions regarding the coronavirus.

Synonyms

coronavirus (COVID-19), corona virus, COVID-19, COVID19, COVID-2019, SARS-CoV-2, 2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV, corona

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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