How does COVID-19 affect your body?


COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus is an unprecedented global crisis and although 80% of people do not have severe symptoms, up to 20% become seriously ill and in 4% of patients the disease has been fatal.

How does COVID-19 affect your body?

It is important that we understand what we are dealing with, how the virus affects the body, and how we can fight it.

How do we get the coronavirus?

The virus is highly contagious and is spread mainly through virus particles thrown into the air by talking, coughing, or sneezing, and which people can breathe or also, although to a lesser extent, by particles that have landed on surfaces such as tables or other objects and that people touch with their hands and then carry into their nose, mouth, or eyes.

The virus can remain several hours or even days alive on the surface of objects, which is why it is recommended that people take measures such as frequent hand washing or regular cleaning and disinfection of everyday surfaces such as door handles, cell phones or a pencil for example.

These coronavirus particles after entering the body quickly reach the sinuses and mucous membranes of the throat. The virus has on its surface spikes made of proteins, and with these spikes they attach themselves to the cell membranes, allowing the genetic material of the virus to enter the human cell.

Once inside the cell, the virus proceeds to "hijack" the cell's metabolism to make it a safe place to multiply.

How does the coronavirus cause symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath?

In the first phase of the infection called the incubation period, a stage where there are no symptoms yet, the virus takes care of replicating inside the cells and can last several days (2 to 14 days).

Eventually the body puts its immune system to work defending itself against the virus by causing the first symptoms such as malaise and fever.

After a few days of multiplying the virus begins to colonize the sinuses and throat, so symptoms such as sore throat or loss of smell and taste can appear, then the virus goes down to the lungs, causing a dry cough, when they reach the bronchi the mucous membrane that covers its interior becomes inflamed.

This inflammation can damage the sacs through which oxygen is extracted and carbon dioxide called alveoli is expelled, making breathing difficult.

If the case worsens, the inflammation of the lungs, as well as the lack of good oxygen circulation can lead to pneumonia.

What other parts of the body can be affected?

Although the lungs are primarily affected by the new coronavirus, the virus can also continue its journey through the body's mucous membranes, through the stomach and into the intestines, which is why some patients report nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Other parts of the body such as blood vessels and bone marrow, as well as other organs such as the heart, kidneys or liver can become inflamed and stop working properly leading to the patient's worsening or even death.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

Many countries are working to develop treatments and vaccines against the new coronavirus but this is an extremely complex task and it may take several months before they are successful.

To learn all about the development of COVID-19 vaccines, click on the following article: The COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease Vaccine

How can we fight the coronavirus?

For the moment, the best strategy to stop the spread of the coronavirus is currently focused on preventing the infection through social distancing and following some basic hygiene measures such as those mentioned in the article: What is the coronavirus?

Avoiding getting close to other people can slow down the mass spread, which can help health services not become saturated with sick people and thus provide better medical care to those who require hospitalization.

This strategy has worked to control the spread of the virus among the population in some countries.