SARS – Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

What Is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome?

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS) is one of the deadly diseases transmitted around the world in the year 2003. A family of viruses causes this respiratory illness and is a dangerous form of Pneumonia.

Key Facts And Statistics 

  • Discovered in Asia on Feb 2003
  • The epidemic lasted for about six months
  • Transmitted in more than 12 countries in Asia, North America, South America, and Europe
  • Has some similarities and irregularities with Pneumonia
  • The first case of the disease recorded in the Guangdong region of Southern China

What causes SARS?

SARS virus causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. When a person coughs, sneezes, or maintains close contact, he can transmit the disease. 

Diseases usually spread when respiratory droplets get absorbed through the mucous membranes of eyes, mouth, and nose. 

It can happen by:

  • Sharing a hall of residence
  • Hugging
  • Kissing
  • Sharing utensils 
  • Having a conversation with a person within 3 feet distance

A person with SARS can leave the pulmonary droplets on bells, phones, door handles, and other objects. Getting in touch with those objects can get you the virus of the disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of SARS?
Symptoms usually develop within 3-5 days or so. Before the incubation period, a person cannot transmit the disease. 

Symptoms are similar to that of flu. It incorporates:

  • High fever
  • Night chills 
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

When people are over the age of 60 or are suffering from Hepatitis or Diabetes, the following complications can occur-

How is SARS Diagnosed?

If you experience breathing difficulty accompanied by high fever and chest pain, you should consult your healthcare specialist right away. 

Returning from overseas can also be one primary reason for the development of the disease. Let your doctor know the places you’ve traveled recently to help determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. 

Once you are infected, kindly avoid public exposure to lower the risk of cross-infection. Take the necessary steps to protect other members of your family. 

When the disease commenced, there were no tests for available for its diagnosis. The doctor used to detect the illness by knowing the symptoms and medical records.

But now there are several alternatives available to confirm the presence of the disease. It incorporates:

  • Blood chemistry test
  • Blood clotting test
  • Chest X-ray
  • CT Scan
  • Arterial Blood Test
  • Complete blood count(CBC) Test

The virus that caused the disease can be found out by the following tests:

  • Antibody test
  • Rapid Polymerase Chain Reaction(PCR) Test
  • Direct Isolation

These tests help detect the disease after the initial week of illness, but not before that period. It is a significant constraint for all of the above-listed tests.

How Is SARS Treated?

There’s no option discovered yet for the treatment of SARS. Scientists are working hard to find an appropriate vaccine for the disease. 

A person with SARS should immediately admitted to the hospital without delay. The following points can be helpful to manage the symptoms of the disease:

  • Antibiotics can treat the germs of Pneumonia
  • Antivirus drugs
  • A relatively high dosage of steroids can help reduce puffiness of the lungs
  • A portable device or ventilator that supplies oxygen can help solve the breathing difficulties

How To Prevent Severe Acute Respiratory Disease?

You can prevent SARS with some precautions listed below:

Wear A Surgical Mask

When you have to share a dormitory with someone with SARS, keep your nose and mouth covered with a surgical mask. 

You can even wear a pair of glasses to reduce the risk of transmission further. 

Wash Your Hands Often

Use soap and lukewarm water and clean your hands most often. You can also keep a sanitizer with you consisting of 60% and above alcohol content. 

Wear A Pair Of Disposable Gloves

Making contact with the patient’s feces or body fluids can develop SARS in you. You can prevent this condition by wearing disposable gloves.

Dispose of the gloves after utilization and clean your hands entirely. 

Wash Personal Belongings

Clean the personal belongings of the patient with soap and warm water. Also, wipe the surfaces in the house that may have got polluted with the person’s saliva, mucus, sweat, stains of urine and stool, etc. 




Tags: SARS prevention, Causes of SARS, SARS virus symptoms, SARS treatment

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.