Coronavirus has been sweeping the news as it spreads from country to country, alarming the public thanks to how unusual it is for it to appear. People are constantly asking what to do if you have the Coronavirus and trying to get as much information as possible from trusted medical sources. Past incidences of human coronavirus infections include SARS and MERS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), both of which proved serious and often fatal. The current coronavirus has already killed more than 1,300 people in the six weeks since its appearance. For comparison, SARS led to 774 fatalities over a total of eight months. So how do you know if you are infected by the coronavirus?
The Centers for Disease Control dubbed this new coronavirus COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) on February 11, and the World Health Organization has been referring to it as 2019-nCoV (2019 Novel Coronavirus). Other names it’s been reported with less officially include the Novel Coronavirus and the Wuhan Coronavirus.
How Do I Avoid Getting Infected?
Naturally, the best thing that you can do to protect yourself is to limit your risk of exposure to the disease. Avoid coming into close contact with people who have complained about fever, cough, and shortness of breath, as the virus is reported as spreading from person to person by means of respiratory vapors and mucus (such as through coughing and sneezing). Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and keep hand sanitizer nearby, these are easy tips to stop being infected by the coronavirus.
Additionally, avoid traveling to China until the virus has been better contained. Of the approximate 49,000 cases of 2019-nCoV reported, around 48,500 of them have been reported in China. Most flights between the United States and China have been indefinitely delayed as a result.
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What If I Suspect I’m Already Infected?
If you have come into contact with people who have been diagnosed with 2019-nCoV infections, or you’re experiencing symptoms of human coronavirus, the most important thing to do is stay calm and go to your doctor. Because 2019-nCoV presents with symptoms similar to both the common cold and respiratory illnesses, the symptoms to look out for include:
- Runny rose
- Lethargy or fatigue
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Uncontrolled episodes of asthma (in asthmatics)
- And, more rarely, fever.
If you’re diagnosed with 2019-nCoV, your doctor will likely recommend bed-rest, drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding any inhaled irritants like smoke, keeping a humidifier and air purifier in your space, and nebulizer treatments for asthmatics experiencing respiratory distress. For the vast majority of people, treating the virus-like a regular cold or flu, staying home, and resting will be enough to allow the illness to resolve on its own; make sure that you are aware if you are infected by the coronavirus.
Up-to-Date Facts and What to Do Next
Out of the 49,053 globally confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV, only 1,383 confirmed deaths have been reported by the World Health Organization as of February 14, 2020. Though this is still a large number, it shows that the vast majority of those infected have been able to get well.
That being said, it’s important that you not further infect people once diagnosed as well. Naturally, staying home and continuing to wash your hands often with soap is recommended. Public health officials also recommend wearing a face mask if and only if you are already infected and need to leave your home. They do not recommend doing so if you are healthy. Take any medication you’re prescribed for fever and respiratory distress, but antibiotics will not be of any assistance with this disease as it is caused by a virus, not bacteria.
As with most diseases, those with healthy immune systems are much less likely to experience more severe symptoms. The elderly, the immune-compromised, and infants are more at risk of the more serious respiratory symptoms and fatality, so it’s especially important to keep yourself and your peers safe when these parties are involved.
The World Health Organization issues regular “Situation Reports” on their website.
This may give you an idea of where the virus is spreading, how quickly or slowly, and will eventually show a decrease in the number of incidents. You can also check with the Centers for Disease Control’s website for updates on what to do, what to look for, and how to protect yourselves and your loved ones. The best thing to do is to remain informed of the situation globally and be aware of any changes while monitoring your own health and that of your loved ones.
If you feel as though you are experiencing similar symptoms associated with the coronavirus, do not hesitate to visit the nearest Village Emergency Center near you. At Village Emergency Centers, we have a full staff of board-certified physicians ready at a moment’s notice. No matter the time of day, have confidence you’ll receive expert care without the wait.