Protection and Prevention: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Info
What is a coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness in animals or humans. Coronaviruses affecting humans are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
What is COVID-19?
The WHO describes COVID-19 as the most recently discovered coronavirus. COVID-19 was unknown before the outbreak that started in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that reported coronavirus illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for COVID-19 cases. After 2-14 days after exposure to the disease, the following symptoms may occur:
- Shortness of breath
If the following emergency warning signs for COVID-19 occur, the CDC suggests that people seek medical attention immediately:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
The WHO states that about 80% of people with COVID-19 recover without needing special treatment. They state that 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 become seriously ill. Older people and those with underlying medical conditions (high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes) are more likely to develop serious illness.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The CDC says that COVID-19 is mainly spread from close contact with an infected person. This contact is between people who are in close contact with each other (within 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
How to protect yourself from COVID-19.
The WHO provides the following tips to reduce the chances of being infected by COVID-19:
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
In addition to what the WHO recommends, the CDC also recommends the following procedures:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If using a hand sanitizer, make sure the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol.
- If you are sick, wear a facemask when you are around other people. People who are not sick should only wear a facemask if they are caring for someone who is sick. Facemasks may be in short supply and should be reserved for caregivers or people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.