Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a severe respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus discovered in 2019. Recently declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), it first appeared in Wuhan, China, where more than 80,000 people were affected. Of those, 3,000 people died.
Currently, COVID-19 is affecting 182 countries and territories, including the US. Worldwide, 182,726 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 7,000 deaths have been reported. In the US, 4,727 confirmed coronavirus cases and 93 death cases have been reported.
Who is at a higher risk?
Early information from China, where the pandemic started, suggests that older adults, and people with serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, respiratory illness, and diabetes, are at a higher risk of falling very sick from COVID-19.
Coronavirus symptoms usually appear after 2-14 days of exposure to the virus. They may range from mild to severe based on an individual’s immune response. They mainly include:
- Shortness of breath
- Running nose
How does coronavirus spread?
COVID-19 is highly contagious and is thought to spread from person-to-person in two ways. First, from respiratory droplets released in the air by an infected person through coughing or sneezing. Second, when people are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
How to protect yourself
Currently, no vaccine is available to prevent COVID-19. The best course of action is to avoid catching the virus through these ways:
- Avoid handshakes and stay away from people, especially those who show symptoms of coronavirus disease.
- Clean your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds using soap and water, especially after you have been in a public place or after you cough or sneeze.
- If possible, keep a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol with you all the time.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, and eyes, especially with unwashed hands.
What if you think you are sick?
If you show symptoms of coronavirus diseases, take these measures to combat the spread of the virus:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Keep yourself in quarantine except to get medical help.
- Avoid crowded places and public transportation.
- Stay away from people, including your loved ones.
- Limit contact with pets and animals.
- Wear a facemask.
- Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
Emergency warning signs
Seek immediate medical help if you show these emergency warning signs:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Persistent chest pain
- Bluish lips or face
- New confusion or inability to arouse
Seniors and people with severe chronic medical conditions, such as lung illness, diabetes, and heart diseases, should pay special attention to protect them from COVID-19. For more info about the preventive measures, contact us or your nearest medical care provider