There are many types of coronaviruses. Some give you the common cold. The new coronavirus behind the 2019-2021 pandemic causes an illness called COVID-19.
How Does Coronavirus Attack Your Body?
A virus infects your body by entering and attacking healthy cells. There, the virus makes copies of itself and multiplies throughout your body.
The new coronavirus attaches 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 virus attacks healthy cells and takes command. Eventually, it kills a number of healthy cells lowering immunity.
How does coronavirusm move through your body?
COVID-19 spreads through droplets from an infected person’s cough, sneeze, or breath. They could be within the air or on a surface that you simply touch before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. That gives the virus passage to the mucous membranes in your throat. Within 2 to 14 days, your system may respond with symptoms including:
- A cough
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Chills, sometimes with shaking
- Body aches
- A sore throat
- Congestion or a runny nose
- Loss of taste
- Loss of smell
- Nausea or vomiting
The virus moves down your respiratory tract. That’s the airway that has your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs. Your lower airways have more ACE2 receptors than the remainder of your tract. So COVID-19 is more likely to travel deeper than viruses just like the cold.
Your lungs might become inflamed, making it difficult for you to breathe well. This can cause pneumonia, an infection of the small air sacs (called alveoli) inside your lungs where your blood exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide.
If your doctor does a CT scan of your chest, they’ll probably see shadows or patchy areas called “ground-glass opacity.”
For many people, the symptoms end with a cough and a fever. More than 8 in 10 cases are mild. But for some, the infection gets more severe. About 5 to eight days after symptoms begin, they have shortness of breath (known as dyspnea). Acute respiratory distress syndrome begins a couple of days later.