Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. A respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus known as COVID-19 has now become a pandemic (a disease prevalent throughout the world). The spread of COVID-19 from one-person to another is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This has caused many states to adopt orders that limit human contact (social distancing).
Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through
- the air by coughing and sneezing
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- rarely, fecal contamination
The following can help prevent the spread of coronaviruses and protect yourself from becoming infected.
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
- there are currently no vaccines to protect against human coronavirus infection
What to do if you feel sick
Unless it is an emergency, to reduce your risk of catching or spreading illness, stay home if you feel sick, even if your symptoms are mild. Do not go to work, school or public places, and avoid public transportation.
If your symptoms are severe or you feel like you need medical care, call before you go to a doctor’s office, urgent care center or emergency room. Describe your symptoms over the phone.
There are no specific treatments. To help relieve symptoms
- take pain and fever medications
- drink plenty of liquids
- stay home and rest