COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, starts in your respiratory tract. That's the airway between your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs. It's the same place that the common cold attacks. But COVID-19 is more likely to get deeper into your respiratory tract, including into your lungs.
When your body spots the virus, your immune system counterattacks. One sign of that is a fever. You might have a cough, too. That's your body's usual response to something that's in the airways that shouldn't be.
There's still a lot we don't know about the new coronavirus that's sickened lakhs and lakhs of lives worldwide. So, here in this article, let's see what it does to your body just after infecting you.
The virus that has wreaked havoc on humans has a very unique way to infect you. Wondering how it may enter your body? Well, there have been many studies which have answered this question but you must know that this virus infects your body by entering healthy cells. There, the invader makes copies of itself and multiplies throughout your body. The coronavirus latches its spiky surface proteins to receptors on healthy cells, especially those in your lungs. Specifically, the viral proteins bust into cells through ACE2 receptors. Once inside, the coronavirus hijacks healthy cells and takes command. Eventually, it kills some of the healthy cells.
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS MOVE THROUGH YOUR BODY?
The virus then starts moving throughout your body. How does that happen? Let's dig in.
The virus starts with the droplets from an infected person's cough, sneeze, or breath. They could be in the air or on a surface that you touch before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. That gives the virus a passage to the mucous membranes in your throat. Within 2 to 14 days, your immune system may respond with symptoms including:
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Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
Chills, sometimes with shaking
A sore throat
Congestion or a runny nose
Loss of taste
Loss of smell
Nausea or vomiting
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE VIRUS ENTERS YOUR BODY?
When the coronavirus enters your body it first binds to the two cells in your lungs, namely - goblet cells that produce mucus and cilia cells which have hairs on them. The function of these cells is to keep your lungs safe from the outside dust and pollution. They normally prevent your lungs from filling up with debris and fluid such as viruses and bacteria and particles of dust and pollen.
The coronavirus after entering your body attacks these cells and starts to kill them - so your lungs begin to fill with fluid making it hard for you to breathe. According to the studies, this particular phase of the disease lasts for about a week.
At this point, your immune system starts to kick in and fight off the invaders - the coronavirus. It is during this when you develop a fever. You also start to get rid of the mucus in the form of coughing and a runny nose.
But in some people - particularly the elderly and those with other health conditions - the immune system can go into overdrive. As well as killing the virus it also starts to kill healthy cells.
Now, that you know what actually happens inside your body when the COVID-19 virus enters. It is also important to understand what effects it has on your lungs and other organs.
CORONAVIRUS AFFECTS THE LUNGS
Once the virus enters the body, many different things happen. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, so the lungs are usually affected first. In many cases, the virus stops at the respiratory tract. But, sometimes the virus goes further down into your lungs all the while hijacking cells to reproduce itself--it can cause inflammation leading to serious conditions like pneumonia and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), where the lungs stiffen and fill with fluid.
Early symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These appear as soon as 2 days, or as long as 14 days, after exposure to the virus.
OTHER ORGANS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS
The lungs are the main organs affected by COVID-19. But in serious cases, the rest of the body can also be affected. According to the doctors, patients who become severely ill, a good proportion of those patients also develop dysfunction in other organ systems. This damage to the organs isn't always directly caused by the infection but can result from the body's response to infection.
CORONAVIRUS AFFECTS STOMACH AND INTESTINE
As discussed, the lungs are the worst affected by the virus infection. But, in some, the COVID-19 patients have also reported gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea or nausea.
CORONAVIRUS AND ITS AFFECT ON THE HEART AND BLOOD CELLS
Yes, the virus can also have a devastating impact on your heart and even on the blood cells. There are no confirmed studies that can reveal the effects of the virus on the heart or the blood cells. According to the health experts, the possible symptoms of the virus infection affecting the heart and the blood cells are irregular heart rhythms, not enough blood getting to the tissues, or blood pressure low enough that it requires medications.
HOW TO STAY SAFE?
The single best thing you can do to stop the virus is to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly - particularly before you eat, touch your face or any other body parts. Carry a hand sanitizer always and protect yourself wearing a good quality mask. Also, make sure to not use the same mask twice. You can use a cotton mask and wash it off immediately after you are back home, or you can also get yourself a few use-and-throw face masks.
The virus is most likely to enter your body from your own contaminated hands when you touch your nose, eyes, and mouth. So, it is extremely important to keep your hands clean. Also, make sure to maintain social distancing. Make sure to eat healthily and include vitamin-C rich fruits and vegetables in your diet. Why? Since this can help you to boost your immunity and help your body stay safe from the novel coronavirus.