Medical advice from doctor H.B. Bludau, specialist in internal medicine

Coronavirus – Don't panic!

At the end of last year, we learned that there had been various cases of pneumonia in the Chinese town of Wuhan that were caused by an unknown virus. The information that resulted in the media about its fast propagation and the deaths that were announced made many people panic. In a busy touristic destination, it is understandable. Here are the facts:

Early detection saves lives

The new virus, called 2019-nCoV, belongs to the large family of coronaviruses that mostly attack the breathing system and cause various diseases, from a cold to bilateral pneumonia. Now it is suspected that the 2019-nCoV is spread through the digestive system as well as through droplet infection, as they have found traces in faeces and rectal samples and it caused diarrhoea instead of fever. Therefore, the symptoms are not uniform. They are mostly symptoms of the breathing system such as cough or the lack of energy with fever, similar to the beginning of the flu. The cold and throat ache, on the other hand, are infections of the superior breathing system and indicate only a cold. However, until a therapy against the disease caused by the 2019-nCoV is found, symptoms can be treated with medicine and adapted to the clinical state of each patient. The incubation period tends to be 2 to 7 days, although it can reach up to 14 days. Since the virus isn't airborne but is transmitted by droplet or smear, a face mask doesn't really protect. You have to stay away from people who are potentially infected, wash your hands properly (20 seconds) regularly with soap and dry them with disposable towels.