Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.
The Coronavirus is spread mainly from person-to-person contact. It typically spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. There is no evidence that companion animals (dogs, cats, etc.) can spread COVID-19.
Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like lung, heart, or kidney disease seem to be at a higher risk for serious coronavirus illness. It is especially important for you to take action to reduce your risk of exposure if you are at higher risk.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus: fever, cough, shortness of breath.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
Social distancing is a precaution you can take to prevent catching the Coronavirus. Current guidelines include staying approximately 6 feet or more away from others, avoid shaking hands (use the elbow bump or wave as an alternate greeting), and sneezing or coughing into your arm or tissue to reduce the spread of germs.
If you believe that you could be infected with COVID-19, do not panic! Stay home and call your primary care provider. Let them know about your symptoms and they will assess if you need testing and will provide the next steps for care.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face. *This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
If you have any questions about the Coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 hotline at 301-883-6627. Remember that 9-1-1 is ONLY for emergencies!
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