Coronavirus disease: What is it and how can I protect myself?

What is COVID-19 and how can I protect myself?


A new virus called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that began in China in 2019. The disease is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The virus is a type of coronavirus — a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in a growing number of countries, including the U.S. WHO declared a global pandemic in March 2020. 

Public health groups, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are monitoring the situation and posting updates, treatment and prevention recommendations on their websites.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The new coronavirus appears to spread from person to person among those in close contact. It is spread by respiratory droplets when someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes. It's unclear exactly how contagious the virus is.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms can be very mild to severe and include a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some people have no symptoms. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

Can COVID-19 be prevented or treated?

A vaccine isn't currently available for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). No antiviral medication is recommended to treat COVID-19. Treatment is directed at relieving symptoms.

What can I do to avoid becoming ill?

WHO and CDC recommend following these precautions for avoiding COVID-19:

1.Avoid large events and mass gatherings.
2.Avoid close contact (about 6 feet) with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.
3.Keep distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, 4.especially if you have a higher risk of serious illness.
5.Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand 6.sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
7.Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue.
8.Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren't clean.
9.Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch on a daily basis.

WHO also recommends these steps: Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or animal organs. If you're visiting live markets in areas that have recently had new coronavirus cases, avoid contact with live animals and surfaces they may have touched. If you have a chronic medical condition and may have a higher risk of serious illness, check with your doctor about other ways to protect yourself.


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