Coronavirus is making news due to a new strain spreading through parts of China, with the first cases detected in the city of Wuhan. Five cases have been diagnosed in the United States since the outbreak began. Making sure you are aware of the symptoms and when to visit a doctor is critical to staying healthy and avoiding exposure until a cure and a vaccination are found.
What is Coronavirus?
A coronavirus is an upper respiratory infection. Common viruses including the cold, flu and strep throat can be considered coronaviruses. However, the type dominating the news cycle is more serious, along the lines of MERS or SARS, which have had outbreaks in recent years. The current coronavirus is not a previously seen virus: SARS has not been detected since 2004 anywhere in the world, and MERS cases are contained along the Arabian Peninsula. The current strain began in China, and reported and confirmed cases are spreading worldwide with five confirmed cases in the United States.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
The coronavirus primarily affects the upper respiratory system and has symptoms similar to the flu, including:
- Chest congestion
- Running nose
- Sore, scratchy or irritated throat
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach cramps
The CDC currently believes that symptoms begin to appear between two and fourteen days after a patient is initially exposed to the virus, though it has an incubation period where a patient could infect others without knowing that they are sick themselves. This incubation period mirrors similar illnesses including the flu and common cold, which can take up to 10 days to exhibit symptoms. If left untreated, the Coronavirus can progress into more serious side effects including persistent high fevers (over 100.4), pneumonia and kidney failure. When you begin to develop symptoms, you should see a doctor right away to determine the exact cause of your illness.
How does Coronavirus spread?
The Coronavirus can be transmitted through contact with contaminated objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, stair railings, elevator buttons and communal kitchens. It is also transmitted through droplets of moisture sent through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes around you. While there is no vaccination available yet, there are several steps you can take in order to protect yourself from the virus.
- Always cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, the “vampire cough.” This contains germs and prevents them from spreading.
- Wash your hands frequently throughout the day with soap and hot water. You should scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds, especially after handling raw food, changing a diaper, using the bathroom or riding public transportation.
- Do not touch your eyes, ears, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. Germs that have built up can spread through your body.
Illness Treatment in Warrington, PA
If you begin to develop symptoms of a cold, cough or the flu, visit AFC Urgent Care Warrington immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Tests can be performed, processed and analyzed in our on-site lab to determine the exact type of treatment you need and if you should visit the emergency room for symptoms of coronavirus. For questions, please call 215-874-3209.