Coronavirus and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

There is a lot of information out there about the coronavirus pandemic. Right now education is your best defense. There are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from viruses like this. 

If you are currently sick or experiencing symptoms, see a doctor on LiveHealth Online from home. Doctors can assess your condition and refer you to in-person care if necessary. 

What is a coronavirus? 

There are several types of coronaviruses some cause illness in people and others in animals. The current outbreak is a new coronavirus that causes a condition known as COVID-19. Other coronaviruses you may have heard about are severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus. 

Where did the new coronavirus come from? 

The new coronavirus was first identified in December 2019 as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory (lung) illness in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. 

How does the new coronavirus spread? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Center is still learning about how the new coronavirus spreads between people. Coronaviruses typically spread from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing, just like the flu. 

How can I protect myself from the coronavirus? 

You can protect yourself from the coronavirus by taking the same precautions you would for the flu or other respiratory viruses. 

Here are some everyday preventative actions to take: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after eating, coughing, sneezing, using the restroom or blowing your nose.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with tissues, and be sure to throw them away after use. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Clean and disinfect objects or surfaces frequently using a household cleaning spray.  
  • Use a cloth face mask when out in public.
  • Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

What do I need to know about the variants of COVID-19?

You’ve probably heard the news about variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. While experts are still learning about them, here is some key information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Viruses change a lot! It is natural and expected to see variants. Some variants may show up suddenly and disappear while others last longer.
  • There are many variants of the virus around the world. There are a few types that appear to spread more quickly and easily. Scientists are studying them to learn if they cause more severe illness.
  • So far, research suggests that the antibodies created from the COVID-19 vaccines recognize these variants. While scientists and public health experts are still learning, this is good news.

What should I do if I feel sick? 

If you have a fever or cough, you can avoid the waiting room germs and see a doctor on LiveHealth Online from home. You’ll receive an assessment and next steps for care without leaving your couch. 

If you have difficulty breathing, a fever with severe cough, profound exhaustion or any medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

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