Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people, and others that circulate among animals. Human coronaviruses usually cause the common cold, including symptoms like a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and fever. There are four different human coronaviruses that commonly infect people. Sometimes, although rarely, an animal coronavirus evolves to infect humans. When that happens, the symptoms can be more severe. That appears to be the case with the new virus, COVID-19. Experts believe this virus was transmitted from an animal in a seafood market in Wuhan City, China, to a human.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
- Similar to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold
- Can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
There are no specific treatments for COVID-19. To relieve symptoms:
- Take pain and fever medications.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Stay home and rest.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth if your hands have not been washed.
- Avoid close contact with sick people. Stay home if you’re sick.
- Frequently clean surfaces.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough/sneeze.
- Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms.