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Coronavirus Facts

(updated April 6, 2020)

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are different kinds of them, they've been around a long time, and they can make us sick. Right now, everyone is focused on a new coronavirus that's causing a disease called COVID-19.

What are the symptoms?

Based on a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report, the most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing up thick phlegm from the lungs
  • Shortness of breath

People may also experience symptoms like bone or joint pain, sort throat, headache, and more. In rare cases, it can lead to death.

How does it spread?

Like the cold and the flu, it's spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. It's also spread through close contact, like shaking hands. Experts think that symptoms can appear within 2 to 14 days of being exposed to the virus. So far, 5 to 7 days seems to be the norm.

Should I wear a face mask?

Yes. The CDC now recommends wearing a cloth face mask when you go out in public and it might be harder to keep a safe distance from others, like if you have to go to the grocery store. The goal is to help prevent people who have coronavirus — but don't have symptoms — from spreading the virus.

So social distancing and frequent hand washing are still the two best tools to protect yourself. Wearing a face mask will help you protect others.

And note that the advice is to wear cloth face masks. It's very important to save surgical masks and N-95 respirators for our healthcare workers on the front lines.

To learn more about face masks, including how to make your own at home, check the CDC website.

How is coronavirus treated?

There's no special treatment for it, and most people get better on their own. You can relieve your symptoms much like you would for a cold or the flu:

  • Drink fluids
  • Rest
  • Take over-the-counter medicines for pain, fever, and cough (do not give aspirin to children or cough medicine to children under four)
  • Use a humidifier or take a hot shower to help with a sore throat and cough

Where can I learn more?

Check the CDC website for the latest news and information.

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