When you get COVID-19, this is what happens to your body
COVID-19, or the new coronavirus, first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, COVID-19 has spread worldwide, being officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization ( WHO) on March 11, 2020, NPR reported.
According to the WHO, COVID-19 is a disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (also known as SARS-CoV-2), a highly contagious virus with the potential to infect people of all ages and medical backgrounds. As of April 8, 2020, there were more than 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 14,000 COVID-19 related deaths, as reported by the New York Times.
Because so little was known about COVID-19 after its discovery, a lot of misinformation began to emerge about who can and who cannot contract the virus, what can and cannot protect it from contracting it, and what symptoms to expect if it becomes infected. . In the time since the initial discovery of COVID-19, doctors continue to learn more about the disease and provide objective information. While we hope that self-quarantine and social distancing measures will prevent you from contracting the disease, this is what happens to your body when you have COVID-19.
There is more than one way for COVID-19 to enter your body
In early April, there were hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the United States, according to The New York Times. Of course, the rapid spread of the never-before-seen virus prompted millions of people to try to purchase protective face masks, hoping to reduce the risk of getting sick. However, wearing a face mask doesn't mean you won't catch COVID-19.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 has multiple ways to enter the body. As noted in the CDC website, the virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted through "respiratory drops produced when an infected person coughs, sneezing or conversations. "Those little drops can fall into the nose or mouth of others. But, as Martin S. Hirsch, chief physician of Infectious Disease Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, said, USA Today, the disease "could enter through the eyes … because this is how other respiratory viruses behave."
Once inside your body, COVID-19 enters healthy cells.
Once the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (or SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for COVID-19, enters the body, the infected person may not feel symptoms until two weeks later. Talking with USA TodayMartin S. Hirsch, chief physician with Infectious Disease Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, said the average time before a person begins to develop virus symptoms is about five days.
However, just because sensation Sick does not mean that the virus is not silently attacking your body. In fact, the virus acts immediately by infecting the lining of the lungs. According to WebMDThe new coronavirus has "pointy surface proteins" that it uses to attach itself to healthy cells within the lining of the lungs. As pointed out The New York TimesWhen these spikes penetrate a healthy cell, the genetic material of the virus is injected into that cell.
According to William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, genetic material injected into a healthy cell then "hijacks the cell's metabolism and says, in effect, 'Don't do your usual job Your job now is to help me multiply and create the virus. "
Your body will have flu-like symptoms when you have COVID-19
While self quarantine Y social distancing may not be convenient, these measurements are incredibly Important for fight coronavirus. This is especially true considering that you can contract the virus from an asymptomatic individual who does not yet know that they have been infected, as symptoms can take up to two weeks To appear.
However, when the symptoms of COVID-19 start to show up inside your body, you will likely feel like you are starting to have the common flu. As pointed out BBC newsEight out of ten people infected with the virus will only experience a mild case of COVID-19. However, a mild case of the new coronavirus is not similar to a mild cold, such as The cut detailed.
Cassie Garret, whose wife, Celeste Morrison, was diagnosed with a mild case of COVID-19, said Health line that symptoms appeared slowly before worsening. "First came the cough and extreme fatigue," the publication details. "Then his temperature rose to 99.7 ° F." Later that week, however, Morrison's nails and lips showed a blue tint, prompting a trip to the emergency room where he was later diagnosed with pneumonia. The following week, the 37-year-old woman was diagnosed with COVID-19 and, fortunately, recovered.
COVID-19 first affects the throat, then moves to another part of your body
While COVID-19 may make you feel like you have the flu or an unpleasant common cold at first, the virus has a much higher cost on your body, especially your lungs.
According to The New York TimesOne of the first symptoms someone with COVID-19 will probably notice is a sore throat accompanied by a dry cough. That is, a cough that does not produce mucus or phlegm. Then, as the virus begins to multiply within your body and infect healthy cells, it "creeps up the bronchi," explained William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee.
Of course, this is harmful to the lungs. According to WebMDCOVID-19 can infect the upper and lower sections of the respiratory tract, making its way through the airways and possibly even infecting the alveoli, the small air pockets inside the lungs. How The atlantic journalist Ed Yong explained to VoxAlthough there is still much to learn about COVID-19, the virus may cause "more serious illness" when it reaches the lower respiratory tract.
COVID-19 injures the air passages in your body
Chances are, if you do come in contact with the virus and develop COVID-19, at first try to find out if you really are infected based on your symptoms. However, even before there are symptoms, the virus has begun to attack the air passages within your body.
When a person infected with the virus finally begins to show the first symptoms (dry cough and fever), respiratory physician John Wilson explained. The Guardian It is because the virus has reached the "respiratory tree" inside the body, injuring it and causing inflammation. This is what causes a persistent cough.
"If this worsens, it goes beyond the lining of the airways and into the gas exchange units, which are located at the end of the airways," the respiratory physician continued. "If they become infected, they respond by pouring inflammatory material into the alveoli at the bottom of our lungs."
COVID-19 can prevent your body from getting enough oxygen
Unfortunately, if you come in contact with a person who has COVID-19 and start developing it yourself, the virus has the potential to be highly costly. your body and make you develop pneumonia.
Depending on how quickly you detect your symptoms and seek medical help, the virus may have already reached the bottom of your respiratory tract. As the respiratory physician John Wilson explained The GuardianThis section of your respiratory tract houses "gas exchange units" located at the end of your air passages. Known as alveoli, these little air sacs appear as bunches of grapes and are responsible for passing oxygen to the surrounding blood vessels, ABC News explained.
According to Dr. Wilson, if those air sacs become inflamed by the virus, a "stream of inflammatory material" will flow into the lungs, causing pneumonia. Subsequently, the lungs full of inflammatory material will not be able to provide adequate oxygen to the bloodstream, which in turn will reduce the body's ability to take oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.
Even if you are young and have a healthy body, COVID-19 can affect your health.
Even though the first person in the United States diagnosed with COVID-19 was a man in his 30s, the idea that younger, healthy People were not at risk of contracting the virus, which was widespread thought for weeks. However, a report from mid-March 2020 the CDC revealed that nearly 40 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were between the ages of 20-54, demonstrating that the virus does not discriminate.
Although the risk of dying from complications of COVID-19 is significantly higher in people 65 years old and older, the disease can still severely affect Health of younger individuals who contract the virus.
"If you're younger and healthier, you're likely to survive COVID-19, but you can still end up on a ventilator for a period of time, and when that happens, your muscles start to atrophy," said thoracic surgeon Osita Onugha. saying Business Insider. According to Dr. Onugha, being on a respirator for even a few days and having your muscles start to atrophy could mean a recovery period of up to six months for even the healthiest youngsters.
COVID-19 can affect your body's gastrointestinal system
COVID-19 is known to cause respiratory disease in patients However, for some people who become infected with the virus, their symptoms may start as stomach aches.
According to a March 2020 report published in the New England Journal of MedicineThe first patient diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States complained of abdominal discomfort on his second day in the hospital. Medical experts say that while most of the focus is placed on a person's lungs when diagnosing and treating COVID-19, it is entirely possible for the virus to appear in the gastrointestinal tract.
As discovered by a March 2020 Study published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology, a "unique subgroup" of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who did not have the usual symptoms of the disease (such as a dry cough) did have digestive problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. "Of course, we are very focused on the lungs because that is what can cause people to die," said study co-author Dr. Brennan Spiegel. Today. "But this virus, if it enters the saliva and swallows it, it can enter the intestinal system."
When you have COVID-19, you may experience liver damage
While COVID-19 is widely known for attacking respiratory systems Of the people diagnosed with the disease, the rest of their bodies are not immune to the havoc COVID-19 can wreak. Depending on the severity of your case, your age and any underlying medical conditions COVID-19 may harm your liver.
According to National Geographic, zoonotic coronaviruses like COVID-19, SARS, and MERS can exit the respiratory system, and when it does, the liver is often a vulnerable target. "Once a virus enters the bloodstream, they can swim to any part of their body," Anna Suk-Fong Lok, assistant dean of clinical research at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, told the publication. She continued, explaining: "The liver is a very vascular organ, so (a coronavirus) can easily enter the liver."
Of course, doctors are still learning about the new coronavirus, but considering severe cases of liver damage and even cases of liver failure in patients diagnosed with SARS and MERS, it is possible that COVID-19 may have the same effect in some people. .
When your body is infected with COVID-19, you could develop a particularly serious case of pneumonia.
As pointed out The GuardianCOVID-19 first started in 2019, although it was initially thought to be a mysterious and sudden cluster of pneumonia cases. As we now know, the cause of pneumonia was discovered to be SARS-CoV-2 – the virus responsible for COVID-19.
Thanks to modern medicine and antibiotics, most people Those who get pneumonia recover. However, the pneumonia caused by COVID-19 is not your ordinary bacterial pneumonia. According to health expertsCommon bacterial pneumonia is indicated on a lung scan with a white spot on a section of the lung, while pneumonia caused by a virus may appear as misty patches, called "ground glass opacities." And then there is COVID-19.
According to Mount Sinai radiologist Adam Bernheim, pneumonia caused by COVID-19 appears in a "distinctive pattern" as a haze clustered at the outer edges of both lungs. As of this writing, there is no known treatment that directly attacks this particular type of pneumonia. "The best treatment we have is supportive care," said emergency physician Aimee Moulin Los Angeles Times.
COVID-19 can cause your body to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome
Talking with The New York TimesAmy Compton-Phillips, clinical director of the Providence Health System, explained the dangers that COVID-19 poses to alveoli or air sacs. "If it swells there, it makes it much more difficult for oxygen to swim through the mucous membrane," he told the publication. According to health professionals, this will likely cause the lungs to fill with fluid, leading to COVID-19 related pneumonia.
While doctors will do everything in their power to keep your body working, such as putting it on a ventilator so you can rest while the machine breathes for you, the worst case scenario could mean developing acute respiratory distress syndrome ( ARDS).
According to the Mayo ClinicARDS is characterized by severe shortness of breath, labored breathing, and low blood pressure. It's just a dangerous condition with a mortality rate around 30 to 40 percent, but the deaths associated with ARDS related to COVID-19 vary more than 50 percent, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
When your body is infected with COVID-19, your fever can cause hallucinations.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), fever is the most common symptom among people with COVID-19. As the WHO noted, 87.9 percent of the 55,924 laboratory-confirmed cases reported fever, which According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is classified as a body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
While most people have experienced fever at some point in their lives, the fevers associated with COVID-19 can be quite severe. Talking with CBS News, a COVID-19 patient said that the fever she experienced with the disease was different from any fever she had experienced before. "The fever is so high that it hallucinates," the patient revealed.
One of many celebrities who have tested positive for coronavirusCNN newscaster Chris Cuomo revealed his own experience with COVID-19 fever, which he revealed in an April 2020 episode of his show, Cuomo Prime Time (via CBS News) Cuomo told viewers that his fever had risen to 103 overnight, Cuomo said, "I'm telling you I was hallucinating. My dad was talking to me. I was seeing people from college, people I hadn't seen forever."
When you receive COVID-19, your body's immune system may turn against you
According to studies by researchers in chinaMany deaths believed to be caused by COVID-19 were actually apparently due to the immune systems of the patients who inadvertently worked against them.
As pointed out WebMD, your immune system is supposed to protect your body from harmful germs and prevent disease. However, sometimes your body's immune system can get caught trying to fight off an illness and overreact. Doctors call this phenomenon a "cytokine storm"and say that it often does more damage than the actual invader it is trying to demolish. According to the Scripps Research Institute (via Daily science), a cytokine storm is "an overproduction of immune cells and their activating compounds," which can lead to inflammation and respiratory distress.
Pavan Bhatraju, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, said NPR that some COVID-19 patients expected to recover from the disease had taken turns for the worse, and doctors suspect cytokine storms are the reason. Some doctors have begun treating patients with medications to counteract these storms, and, as the publication revealed, "they say the approach appears to be helping."