What is COVID-19?
That is the new name given to the new strain of corona virus that was first discovered in Wuhan, China.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- most common symptoms
- dry cough
- other symptoms
- aches and pains
- nasal congestion
- runny nose
- sore throat
Is it serious?
- usually starts with mild symptoms and 80% of folks who are infected will recover like getting the flu or bad cold
- 1 out of 6 folks may get very sick and develop difficulty breathing (usually folks who already have chronic conditions and weakened immune systems)
- 2% of those infected have died so far
How widespread is it? click here for latest map and update from NY Times
- at least 71 countries are affected so far
- 116 cases in the US with 9 deaths so far
How do I catch it?
- from droplets of someone who is infected expelled on cough or exhale
- if you touch a surface that has the droplets on it
- if you breathe in the droplets after someone coughs or exhales
- no studies yet suggest that you can catch it just from the air
- very low risk of catching it from someone who is not sick
- however symptoms are mild in the beginning and person may not know they are infected until their symptoms are more severe
- symptoms may not show up until up to 14 days after exposure
How can I prevent getting it?
- regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water
- maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth
- make sure you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene
- cover your cough/sneeze with bent elbow
- throw away used tissues immediately
- stay home if you feel unwell
- call your doctor if you have fever, cough, difficulty breathing
- follow instructions from local health authority
** these are great guidelines everyday anyway and should be practiced ALL the time to prevent the common cold, flu, pneumonia, sinusitis, and GI bugs, etc!
Who benefits from wearing a face mask?
- those who have symptoms have COVID-19
- those caring for folks who have symptoms of COVID-19
- health care workers caring for individuals with fever and cough
**if you do not have symptoms or caring for anyone with symptoms, it is not recommended to wear a mask
For more detailed explanations and Q&A's on this topic you can read it here on the WHO website.
So what is the bottom line?
- do not panic
- stay up to date on the latest recommendations from reputable sources
- use common sense
- there is a growing list of countries that have travel restrictions... but stay up to date and consider whether non-essential travel is worth the risk, click here to check the cdc website for travel advice for your destination (remember - this may change in a day)
- if you get sick and are not sure what to do, call your doctor