What Happens When You Get Infected With Coronavirus?
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There are many types of coronaviruses. Some cause the common cold. The new coronavirus causes the COVID-19 illness.
How Does Coronavirus Attack Your Body?
A virus infects your body by penetrating healthy cells. There the virus makes copies of itself and multiplies throughout your body.
The new coronavirus is made up of spiky surface proteins that attach on to receptors on healthy cells, especially targeting those in your lungs. Once penetrating the receptors, the coronavirus takes over the healthy cell and takes control, eventually killing some of the healthy cells.
How Does Coronavirus Move Through Your Body?
COVID-19 starts with droplets from an infected person’s cough, sneeze, or breath. The droplets could be in the air or on a surface that you touch. Then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth comes into play. That gives coronavirus a passage to the mucous membranes in your throat. Within 2 to 14 days, your immune system may respond with symptoms including:
Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath, Trouble breathing, Fatigue, Chills, sometimes with shaking, Body aches, Headache, Sore throat, Loss of taste, Loss of smell, Nausea, Diarrhea.
The virus continues moving down your respiratory tract. Your lower airways have more receptors than the rest of your respiratory tract. So COVID-19 in many cases goes deeper into your system than viruses like the common cold.
Your lungs might become inflamed, making it tough for you to breathe. This can lead to pneumonia, an infection of the tiny air sacs inside your lungs where your blood exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide. If you get a CT scan of your chest, your doctor will probably see shadows or patchy areas referred to as “ground-glass opacity.”
For most people, the symptoms end with a cough and a fever. More than 80% of cases are mild, but for some the infection gets more severe. About a week after the symptoms begin, patients have shortness of breath, then acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) begins a few days later.
ARDS can cause rapid breathing, a fast heart rate, dizziness, and sweating. It damages the tissues and blood vessels in your lungs, causing debris to collect inside them. This makes it harder or even impossible for you to breathe. Many people who get ARDS need help breathing from a ventilator.
As fluid collects in your lungs, less oxygen gets to your blood. That means your blood isn’t supplying your organs with enough oxygen to survive. This can lead to your kidneys, lungs, and liver shutting down.
Not everyone who has COVID-19 has these serious complications. And not everyone needs medical care. But if your symptoms include trouble breathing, obtain help right away.
This article is for general information purposes only and is not medical advice. Consult your physician if you experience any symptoms related to COVID-19.
Click HERE for Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data & Surveillance Dashboard.
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Clearwater – (727) 726-1962
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Ocala – (352) 877-3360
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