Ever since the first cluster of coronavirus cases was recorded, researchers have been racing to better understand this contagious disease. They’ve studied how it spreads and all the possible ways to treat it.
COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person either through direct contact (touching) or indirect contact (nasal discharge or saliva droplets from coughing and sneezing). But there’s one particular problem that has puzzled countless people – asymptomatic cases.
We decided to take a closer look at what asymptomatic means, including the best ways to manage it.
What Is an Asymptomatic Case of COVID-19?
According to the WHO, the term asymptomatic transmission refers to a virus transmission from an infected individual that doesn’t have any coronavirus symptoms. These people don’t know they are infected because they are transmitting the infection without feeling sick.
How Many People Are Asymptomatic?
Based on reports from the Advisory Board, of all the patients who tested positive for COVID-19, 30% were asymptomatic. However, they still carried just as much of the virus as symptomatic patients and could transmit the pathogen to someone else.
Recent data suggests that 80% of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic or mild. Only 15% are severe, while 5% are critical and require oxygen and ventilation treatment. People who develop severe complications are more vulnerable to developing influenza infections.
What Happens in the Body of an Asymptomatic Individual?
Asymptomatic people are completely different from pre-symptomatic individuals. They don’t develop any symptoms of the infection, while pre-symptomatic who are infected won’t show the symptoms of the disease yet. In time, they will start to notice the infection.
Both of these groups can spread COVID 19, experts explain.
But, because they don’t cough or sneeze as much as other symptomatic people, an asymptomatic person is less likely to spread the disease. Instead, they will maintain their normal daily routines and remain completely unaware of the fact that they are carrying the infection.
Because of how unique the virus is, it’s hard to predict its impact on asymptomatic individuals.
For patients who do develop symptoms like fever, dry cough, or fatigue, they will experience changes to their bodies from 1 to 14 days after they’ve been infected. Most people feel symptoms in the first 5 to 6 days.
How Can People Protect Themselves?
The COVID-19 protection guidelines remain the same for asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, or symptomatic individuals. It’s important that you take the proper precautions. You need to:
- Maintain regular hygiene. Scrub any areas of the body that might have been exposed to the virus.
- Wash the hands multiple times a day with water and soap. If you don’t have access to water, you can use hand sanitizers or hand rubs instead. The hands are constantly exposed to harmful pathogens, which makes it essential to wash your hands as much as possible.
- Keep a safe distance from people (two meters). By maintaining this distance, the pathogens are less likely to come in contact with your body, even if a person is sneezing or coughing near you.
- Don’t touch your face. Any pathogen that comes in contact with the skin can easily get someone infected. It’s vital to maintain proper hygiene even on the face.
- Use facial coverings (masks) that will protect the nose and mouth. So, even if you are asymptomatic, you will avoid transmitting the infection to someone else.
- Avoid going out if you don’t feel well. No matter how tempting it is to go outside and have fun if you are not in your best shape, you should stay at home. That way, you are less likely to infect the people around you.
- Drop dangerous habits like drinking or smoking. Anything that might weaken the lungs or digestive system will be a real setback when dealing with COVID-19.
- Avoid unnecessary travel or huge groups. It’s normal for people to want to spend time with others. But you should limit traveling as much as possible so that you can stay safe and prevent the spread to others.
To date, more research is necessary to fully understand COVID-19. The infection is incredibly unpredictable and affects people in various ways. It’s possible to get infected and not have any symptoms. This is what experts refer to asymptomatic cases. But, no matter how you feel, you still have to take the right precautions and keep yourself and those around you safe at all times.