What are symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

In rare cases, COVID-19 can lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure or death.

If you have a fever or any kind of respiratory difficulty such as coughing or shortness of breath, call your doctor or a health care provider and explain your symptoms over the phone before going to the doctor’s office, urgent care facility or emergency room. Here are suggestions if you feel sick and are concerned you might have COVID-19.

If you have a medical emergency such as severe shortness of breath, call 911 and let them know about your symptoms.

How did this new coronavirus spread to humans?

COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan, a city in China, in December 2019. Although health officials are still tracing the exact source of this new coronavirus, early hypotheses thought it may be linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, China. Some people who visited the market developed viral pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus. A study that came out on Jan. 25, 2020, notes that the individual with the first reported case became ill on Dec. 1, 2019, and had no link to the seafood market. Investigations are ongoing as to how this virus originated and spread.

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 can be passed from person to person through droplets from coughs and sneezes. COVID-19 has been detected in people all over the world, and is considered a pandemic.

The spread of this new coronavirus is being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization and health organizations like Johns Hopkins across the globe.

TRUE or FALSE? A face mask will protect you from COVID-19.

The answer is false.

Certain models of professional, tight-fitting respirators (such as the N95) can protect health care workers as they care for infected patients.

For the general public without respiratory illness, wearing lightweight disposable surgical masks is not recommended. Because they don’t fit tightly, they may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes. Also, people with the virus on their hands who touch their face under a mask might become infected.

People with a respiratory illness can wear these masks to lessen their chance of infecting others. Bear in mind that stocking up on masks makes fewer available for sick patients and health care workers who need them.

TRUE or FALSE? Ordering or buying products shipped from overseas will make a person sick.

The answer is false.

Researchers are studying the new coronavirus to learn more about how it infects people. As of this writing, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that the likelihood of becoming infected with COVID-19 from a commercial package is low since it has likely traveled over several days and been exposed to different temperatures and conditions during transit.

TRUE or FALSE? You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by swallowing or gargling with bleach, taking acetic acid or steroids, or using essential oils, salt water, ethanol or other substances.

The answer is false.

None of these recommendations protects you from getting COVID-19, and some of these practices may be dangerous. The best ways to protect yourself from this coronavirus (and other viruses) include:

Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and hot water.

Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing.

In addition, you can avoid spreading your own germs by coughing into the crook of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.