Coronavirus has been declared a national emergency here in the US and a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. It’s safe to say that this virus has grown into something that’s affecting high numbers of people. Some countries are completely locked down, while others are still trying to control the spread before it gets to that point. The US is one of those countries trying to slow the spread without a total lockdown. One of the most important aspects of slowing the spread of this virus is for patients to know the symptoms and recognize them early.
Make sure you are always reviewing new symptoms and
Coronavirus symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, and a fever. These symptoms are also common with the flu, but the flu tends to bring gastrointestinal symptoms while coronavirus does not. Symptoms appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after you’ve been exposed to the virus. You can be exposed to the virus through direct contact with a coronavirus patient, or through contact with an infected surface. Coronavirus symptoms can become severe enough that emergency medical attention is needed when a patient is unable to catch their breath, a fever spikes, or there is pressure and pain in the chest.
How to Protect Yourself
It’s believed that there are more cases of coronavirus than we actually know since the number of test kits are limited and some people may carry COVID-19, but present very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The best way to protect yourself from the coronavirus is to practice good hygiene.
This means regularly washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. The CDC is also urging people to practice social distancing. Social distancing means avoiding contact with people whenever you can. Stay home when you can and avoid any crowd of 50 or more people. When you’re out, respect personal space and try to stay 6 foot away from other people.
What to Do if You have Symptoms
If you develop coronavirus symptoms, don’t rush to the ER or urgent care. Tests are readily available anyways, so visiting the ER is just putting staff and other patients at an unnecessary risk. Stay home and call your primary care provider or health department to get advice moving forward. If you’re having difficulty breathing, visit the ER but inform them upon arrival of your symptoms so you can be isolated and properly triaged.