Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have described an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that was first detected in China. This is a rapidly evolving situation and health officials are actively monitoring globally. Currently, more than 110 countries/regions including the U.S. report cases of COVID-19.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and how does it spread?
As community spread of the virus continues, expect symptoms to include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Up to 80% of individuals have relatively mild symptoms and can recover at home. The virus spreads mainly from person-to person via respiratory droplets (when someone coughs or sneezes).
Who is at high risk for COVID-19?
Most of what we know about the disease shows that those older adults (≥ 60 years of age) are more likely to get very sick from this illness. Those individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are also at greater risk for getting very sick from this virus.
If I am high risk what should I be doing?
- Stock up on supplies: prescription medications, over-the counter medications to treat fever and other symptoms
- Take everyday precautions – clean and wash hands often, avoid crowds, avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships
- If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, stay home as much as possible
- Stay home as much as possible and call your doctor if you are not feeling well
How can I protect myself and my family?
Currently there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 nor are there approved medications to treat the disease. However, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory disease:
- Social distancing: stay away from those who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth
- Stay home if you are sick (do not go to work or school)
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces with regular household cleaning spray or wipes
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
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Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.