Updated on 03.10.2020
As concerns over the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) grow, understanding some key facts can be crucial to protecting your family and yourself. To date, COVID-19 has spread to 50 countries worldwide, including the U.S.
What is the Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a variant of a family of viruses called coronaviruses that can cause respiratory tract infections that range in severity with symptoms resembling a common cold to serious illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
How is it spread?
Viruses like COVID-19 can pass through coughing, sneezing and close contact. This can include shaking hands, or touching a surface with the virus on it. It is commonly spread when people touch their eyes, nose or mouth without washing hands, similar to a cold or flu.
What are the symptoms?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms can range from mild to severe illness. They commonly occur 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
How do I protect my family?
The CDC and WHO recommend practicing good hygiene, similar to that used to protect yourself from cold or flu.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Or, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Do not go to work, school or busy public places if you are sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw it away immediately.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
What items should I keep at home in case I get sick?
Fever reducers and anti-congestants can help ease symptoms. Keeping broths and other hydrating liquids like sports drinks on hand can also be beneficial. You can treat a suspect coronavirus case similar to that of the flu. It is important to note that Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and other prescription medicines are not effective in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
Should I see my healthcare provider if I’m sick?
Health organizations like the CDC and WHO recommend only visiting a medical provider if you are directed to do so by your provider. Instead, call your provider and inform them of your condition. They will advise you on the best course of action.
If you have another ailment or injury not related to COVID-19, you should still be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
Should I avoid traveling?
The CDC currently recommends avoiding endemic areas. If possible, try to reschedule any upcoming travel if you’re at high risk for infection.
Who’s at the highest risk of infection?
People over the age of 60, those who may be pregnant or people on medications that weaken the immune system are at the highest risk of getting infected. If you fall into one of these groups, consider employing social distancing strategies if there is a risk of contracting COVID-19 in your area.
We will continue to update our posted information regarding COVID-19 as the situation develops.