Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus strain that was first identified in 2019. Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new virus. It has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people and there is not a treatment.
Health experts are still learning the details. Currently, it is thought to spread:
- Through coughing and sneezing
- Through close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- By touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
Experts are still learning about the range of illness from novel coronavirus. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions.
People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Difficulty breathing
If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call ahead to your regular doctor first. If you have difficulty breathing, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19, but you should call 911.If you’re over age 60 and you have underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease, come up with a plan with your doctor to identify your health risks and a plan for how to manage symptoms.
It is important that everyone take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially to protect those who are more vulnerable. Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent COVID-19: Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others. Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. Most people with mild illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some cases develop pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization.