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If you’re concerned about the coronavirus that’s in the news, you’re not alone. There are some specific measures you can take to help protect yourself and your loved ones against infections like it. The first step is to educate yourself — here are the top six things to know about the current coronavirus outbreak:
- What is a coronavirus? Coronaviruses originate in animals and rarely spread to humans. Two well-known types of coronaviruses have infected humans and led to outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The current outbreak involves a new coronavirus that causes a condition called COVID-19.
- Where did it appear first? The new coronavirus was identified in December 2019 as the cause of an outbreak of lung illness in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
- What are the symptoms?
People with COVID-19 have a range of reported symptoms from mild to severe illness. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. People with these symptoms, or a combination of symptoms, may have COVID-19:
- shortness of breath
or at least two of the following:
- repeated shaking with chills
- muscle pain
- sore throat
- new loss of smell or taste
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterates that these symptoms are not all-inclusive. Speak to a medical provider if you have symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
- How does it spread? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still learning about how the new coronavirus spreads. Coronaviruses typically spread from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing, just like the flu.
- How do you prevent it? The best ways to stay healthy are to wash your hands, cover your cough, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- How is it treated? Speak with a doctor immediately if you have trouble breathing or flu-like symptoms.
If you’re sick or think that you may have come in contact with someone who is sick, try not to panic. Chances are you have the flu or a common cold. However, because the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu can be similar, it’s important to see a doctor.
If you'd like to avoid traveling to the doctor’s office and sitting in the waiting room you can have a visit online. Telehealth allows you to seek medical attention from your home, which can reduce the chance of contracting and/or spreading illness.