Coronavirus is big news around the globe. You can’t go far without hearing something about the virus and its impact on the world. Since the virus reached the United States, it’s more important than ever to understand what it is, how to treat it, and how to limit exposure.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that includes the common cold. The particular strain we are dealing with now is COVID-19. You may also hear the term “novel coronavirus” which simply means that COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that we’ve never seen in humans before.
What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?
Symptoms of the coronavirus primarily affect the respiratory system. The severity of COVID-19 symptoms vary from person to person and can appear within a few days of exposure. In some cases, symptoms of the coronavirus presented up to two weeks after exposure.
Contact your doctor if you develop these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
Keep in mind that some individuals carry the virus without showing any signs of the illness, or only experience mild symptoms. Be sure to take notice of how you are feeling and take the appropriate precautions if you begin to feel unwell.
How to Prevent and Treat Coronavirus
Like any virus, there are steps you can take to prevent yourself from contracting COVID-19. Since we can’t see the virus, it’s a good idea to take preventative measures to protect yourself and others.
- Avoid contact with others who exhibit symptoms of illness.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- If you’re sick, stay home.
- When you need to cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Immediately dispose of the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect any objects or surfaces you use frequently.
- Wear a facemask only if recommended.
- Wash your hands often, with soap and water. Sing a song, recite the alphabet, or count to yourself to ensure you’re washing for at least 20 seconds.
- In the absence of soap and water, use an alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer.
When to Wear a Facemask
There has been a mad dash for facemasks since the outbreak of COVID-19, but the CDC only recommends facemasks in certain situations. It’s important to follow these recommendations to ensure facemasks are available for those who need them.
- If you don’t have any symptoms, you should skip the facemask and focus on other preventative measures.
- Facemasks should be reserved for individuals with symptoms of the coronavirus to prevent spreading it to others.
- Individuals in the healthcare field should continue wearing facemasks as directed.
Steps to Take if You’re Sick
If you think you’ve been exposed or develop symptoms of the coronavirus, stay home except for medical appointments. Limit contact with others, including your pets, and contact your doctor. Treat your symptoms as directed by your doctor.
Do Your Part to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus
Since the coronavirus is spread by close contact, it is recommended that you self-quarantine if you’ve been exposed or exhibit symptoms. Limiting your contact with others is doing your part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
You may also want to consider rescheduling or canceling travel plans, especially if your destination has confirmed cases of the virus. If travel is unavoidable, doctors recommend a two-week self-quarantine to limit potential exposure to others.
Lastly, be sure to adhere to any company or workplace policies put into place by an employer. Most organizations will likely have a policy in place to protect the well-being of employees.