The symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Although the symptoms may seem similar to the flu, coronavirus is a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) — a respiratory illness. Shortness of breath is a key indicator of coronavirus because of the effect it has on your upper respiratory system.
Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expect more and more people to start experiencing Coronavirus infection symptoms in the United States. Their warning to Americans: Prepare for the spread of the coronavirus in communities across the country. It’s important to know if you’re experiencing symptoms or if it’s just a common cold.
How Did Coronavirus Develop?
Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces. They infect mostly bats, pigs, and small mammals. But they mutate easily and can jump from animals to humans, and from one human to another. Seven strains are known to infect humans, including this new virus, causing illnesses in the respiratory tract.
Coronaviruses are large, enveloped, positive-strand RNA viruses and are considered “zoonotic,” meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. They are often found in bats. Bats are the reservoirs for many coronaviruses.
Coronaviruses received relatively little attention until 2002 when a new type of pneumonia started affecting people. It spread from Guangdong Province, China, to more than two dozen countries via international air travel. It was determined that bats were the natural hosts and this type of coronavirus became known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Common symptoms of SARS include fever, cough and diarrhea. Of those infected, 20% to 30% required mechanical ventilation and 10% died, with higher fatality rates in older patients and those with underlying conditions.
The most recent outbreak is being caused by a new strain of coronavirus. Researchers have yet to pinpoint its exact origin, but some of the first cases were seen in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, China.
What Are Symptoms Of Coronavirus?
CDC researchers believe that symptoms of coronavirus may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. They include:
- Shortness of breath
In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. Many of the people who have a coronavirus infection have pneumonia in both lungs.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms contact your doctor. Or if you see someone who’s experiencing them, stay at least 6 feet from them to attempt to minimize the risk.
An At-Home Coronavirus Test
If you think you're experiencing coronavirus symptoms, MyLinks has created a patient self-assessment tool that you can use. This online coronavirus test is based on guidelines from The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. It will help you to understand what you should do next if you're showing signs of COVID-19.
The tool is free, but it should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other healthcare provider.
How Coronaviruses Spread
Coronavirus is an infectious disease. Human coronaviruses tend to spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes. The respiratory droplets they produce can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It may be possible that you can get coronavirus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching other parts of your body, including:
But this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. To decrease your risk, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day.
Travel bans and restrictions are also helping slow the spread of the disease. The virus seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in Hubei Province and other parts of China. The United States and several other countries are screening passengers who travel to China and surrounding countries, including:
- South Korea
Travel-related cases are being promptly identified and isolated for further care. The World Health Organization is monitoring the situation very closely.
The aggressive-travel measures being used in China to stop the spread of the coronavirus appear to be working. The declining rate of new cases indicates that the virus can be contained.
Treatments For Coronavirus
Coronavirus is currently being treated with supportive care.
But clinical trials will begin on a vaccine at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases soon.
A spokesperson for the CDC says that if a pandemic does begin in the U.S., some businesses may want to embrace measures like:
- Allowing their employees to work from home
- Schools may ultimately need to cancel classes
- Local governments may want to reschedule large events.
For now, the risk of coronavirus is low, but the CDC wants you to be ready for a worst-case scenario IF it develops. Coronavirus is a respiratory illness that should be taken seriously. You can do your part to keep this from becoming a bigger public health problem than it is right now. Keep washing your hands and if you feel sick—stay home.
Many of the same steps that are slowing the spread of coronavirus also work on slowing influenza. You can find additional tips in our guide: “How to Get Rid of The Flu (Or Not Get It All).” You’ll find out what you can do every single day to decrease your risk for coronavirus and other illnesses.