What is COVID-19? In December 2019, an outbreak of a novel Coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province. People developed pneumonia without a clear cause. Treatments were ineffective. The virus seems to have started at a wet market in Wuhan, where live animals were sold. It is believed to have been spread from bats to snakes to humans. Humans can also infect other humans. COVID-19 has spread around the world and is now a global pandemic.
What is a Coronavirus? Coronaviruses circulate among animals but can evolve and infect humans. This has happened in the cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). There are 4 other coronaviruses that cause mild respiratory symptoms like the common cold.
How is COVID-19 Transmitted/Spread? It is believed to be spread by respiratory droplets from coughing, breathing, or oral/nasal secretions. These droplets can travel 3 to 6 feet from the infected person. They are believed to spread even further outdoors. They can infect other humans by entering the nose, mouth, or eyes. Touching a surface contaminated by the virus, then touching one’s nose, mouth, or eyes can also cause infection. COVID-19 can survive on plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days.
When is a Person Contagious? The Wuhan Coronavirus has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days, but a person is still contagious during that time. That means a person can show no symptoms, but still infect others. This makes this Coronavirus highly contagious because we do not know who is infected.
What are the Symptoms? Wuhan Coronavirus symptoms may include fever, coughing, breathing difficulties, fatigue. Mild symptoms can include loss of small and taste, diarrhea, nausea, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, and congestion. If the infection becomes severe, it can cause pneumonia, respiratory failure, kidney failure, and death.
How to Prevent Infection:
- Stay home/shelter in place, except for essential trips such as grocery shopping, health needs, etc.
- Social Distancing: stay at least 6 feet away from other people
- Wear a mask when going out in public.
- Regular hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not available
- Covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing; wash hands afterwards
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms such as coughing, fever, or shortness of breath
- Wear goggles to protect eyes from droplets
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first
- If you have fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, seek medical care.
- Boost your immune system by eating more fruits and veggies, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, omega-3, and probiotics. Avoid processed foods.