Covid-19 has arrived in everyday life
Football games without spectators, canceled major events, closed schools or daycare centers, other countries no longer allow Europeans to enter, certain items such as toilet paper are constantly sold out in the supermarket - little by little, many people are feeling the effects of the corona epidemic. Experts summarize how best to behave now and what to expect in the near future.
The Sars-CoV-2 virus and the disease Covid-19 have arrived in Germany. Politicians and authorities take drastic measures. But every individual is also challenged.
Everyday life with Covid-19: What should I do now?
The novel coronavirus Sars-Cov-2 spreads in Germany, Europe and the world. Canceled events, closed schools and daycare centers, home offices instead of offices - the Covid 19 epidemic has a massive impact on people's everyday lives. The main goal is to slow down the pace of spreading so as not to overload the health system and to protect risk groups. Every individual is challenged.
What are the symptoms of Covid-19?
Diseased people have a high temperature and cough, an overview of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) shows with reference to figures from China. Shortness of breath, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and headache also occurred, but already in significantly fewer patients. Even less frequently, nasal congestion or diarrhea were recorded as symptoms among the almost 56,000 cases considered.
All important information about Covid-19 can be found in the article: Coronavirus - Symptoms, Contagion and Prevention.
What do I do if I am suspected of being infected?
First of all, if you have had contact with infected people, you should report to your health department regardless of the symptoms. The RKI offers a postcode search online to find the responsible health authority.
Returning travelers from risk areas identified by the RKI, such as Italy or Alsace-Lorraine in France, should avoid unnecessary contacts and stay at home if possible - even if they do not develop any symptoms. This also applies to stays in particularly affected German areas. If symptoms do appear, you should go to the doctor. But it is very important to call ahead and report your suspicions.
If you get a fever, cough or shortness of breath within two weeks of returning from a region where Covid-19 cases have occurred, you must also report in advance by phone and then to the doctor. In general, the RKI emphasizes that anyone who suspects that they have contracted the virus should come into contact with others as little as possible, wash their hands regularly - and cough and sneeze properly.
How does proper coughing and sneezing work?
Turn away and keep at least one meter away from others, explains the website "Infektionsschutz.de" of the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA). Ideally, you snort or cough into a paper handkerchief, which you then throw away. If none is at hand, keep the crook of your arm close to your nose and mouth. Whether coughing or sneezing: whenever possible, you should wash your hands afterwards.
How do you prevent infection?
Not only for people who - regardless of the cause - feel sick, but also for healthy people: The experts explain that they wash their hands regularly for 20 to 30 seconds, for example, always before meals or after returning home and before and after contact with the sick on "Infektionsschutz.de".
Specifically: Hold your hands under running water, then soap yourself thoroughly - on the palms of your hands, the back of your hands, fingertips and between your fingers. Rub the soap gently in all areas and then rinse off. Liquid soaps are more hygienic than soap bars, especially in public toilets, according to the portal.
In order not to get germs on your hands immediately after washing, you should, if possible, turn off the tap with a disposable towel or with your elbow. The BZgA recommends disposable towels for drying. At home, everyone should use their own towel.
Droplets as the main transmission path
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) also emphasizes that the main transmission path seems to be droplet infection. Therefore, you should keep a distance of one to two meters from possibly sick people. Oliver Witzke, director of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases at the University Medical Center in Essen, explains that following this recommendation is hardly possible in a crowded subway, for example.
He advises to think about which events you go to - if they take place - or which routes you take. For example, whether you have to be present at work or can work from home, as is already practiced in many companies.
Can breathing masks protect?
When it comes to breathing masks, the following applies: Those with respiratory diseases can reduce the risk of infecting other people, explains the BZgA. However, the fact that these masks effectively protect healthy people from infection has not been sufficiently proven.
Who are the risk groups?
The disease is mild in most people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 80 percent of those infected recover without special treatment. These people can cure the disease at home. For more information, see the article: Coronavirus: Treating Covid-19 Infection With Home Remedies At Home.
About 15 out of 100 infected people develop a severe course of the disease with breathing problems. In some cases, Covid-19 can be life-threatening. According to the RKI, there is an increased risk of severe courses in certain groups. These include older people, with the risk increasing steadily from around 50 to 60 years, and smokers. People with previous diseases of the heart and lungs (for example asthma), with chronic liver diseases, with diabetes or with cancer also belonged to the risk group.
Even those who have a weakened immune system or take medications that weaken the immune system, such as cortisone, are among the risk groups according to current knowledge. There are no specific drugs against the new coronavirus, and so far there is no vaccine. (vb; source: Tom Nebe, dpa)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- RKI: SARS-CoV-2 Fact Sheet for Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) (as of March 10, 2020), rki.de
- RKI: Answers to frequently asked questions about the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (as of March 11, 2020), rki.de
- RKI: Risk assessment for COVID-19 (as of March 9, 2020), rki.de
- Federal Institute for Health Education: Hygiene when coughing & sneezing (accessed: March 12, 2020), infektionsschutz.de
- Federal Institute for Health Education: washing hands (accessed: March 12, 2020), infektionsschutz.de
- RKI: COVID-19: International risk areas and particularly affected areas in Germany (as of March 11, 2020), rki.de