What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following as possible symptoms of COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Other symptoms are possible. Symptoms might appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
What can I do to prevent catching or spreading of COVID-19?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
- In public, stay at least 6 feet away from others. Remember that some people without symptoms might be able to spread virus.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Do NOT use a face mask meant for a health care worker. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
- If you are around others and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- If you’re sick, stay home and avoid contact with others other than to seek medical attention.
Who is most susceptible to serious illness?
Most who contract COVID-19 will only experience mild to moderate symptoms. Some, however, are at risk for serious illness, such as pneumonia, or even death. Those most at risk include those who are 65 or older, live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility or have one of the following medical problems:
- chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- serious heart conditions
- compromised immune system (Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.)
- severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
- chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- liver disease