Understanding the coronavirus and COVID-19
Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1950s and generally cause mild upper respiratory illness characterized by cough, fever, and/or body aches. This is very similar to most viral illnesses including flu and the common cold.
The current situation involves a new, or “novel,” coronavirus, and the illness it causes is called COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). In the last year, we have developed multiple vaccines to help prevent the spread of the virus and monoclonal antibody treatments that help mitigate symptoms in moderate and severe cases.
The coronavirus first infects your lungs, nose, and throat, but ultimately can affect any part of your body. People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms and the list has grown since the pandemic began. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and range from mild flu-like symptoms to severe illness. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may be infected with COVID-19:
- Body aches & muscle pains
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Recent loss of your sense of taste and/or smell
This list is not all-inclusive and coronavirus symptoms are similar to other seasonal issues like cold, flu, and allergies. However, loss of taste or smell is considered one of the most specific symptoms to this virus. As with the flu, most people who get coronavirus experience fever, cough, muscle pain or weakness, and fatigue, and will have a complete recovery.
Please consult your local vybe urgent care location for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Steps You Can Take to Stay Healthy
The coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets that occur when talking and from a cough or sneeze. Everyone should be maximizing “social distancing” to slow the spread of COVID-19, as the disease can be spread by people who may be infected but not have symptoms. In general, follow the same preventive measures you would take with the flu. Here are things you can do to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the community:
Cover your face
- Fully cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands.
- Wear a mask in public settings at all times as recommended by the CDC. This is essential, even when social distancing is possible.
Keep your hands clean
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Avoid close contact with others
- In public, maintain social distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
- Stay home unless it is necessary to go to work, purchase necessary items, help someone who needs support, or seek medical care.
- Do not visit friends, gather in groups, or otherwise socialize in person, especially indoors. Use virtual technologies to stay connected.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Clean & disinfect
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Frequently touched objects/surfaces include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
The risk of infection will begin to diminish, but not disappear, during the early stages of vaccination. The above safety practices will help and are especially important for older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, seem to be at higher risk of more serious illness due to COVID-19.