(RxWiki News) COVID-19 continues to make headlines. Here's what you need to know.
Now considered a pandemic, COVID-19 has been reported across the US. If you haven't done so already, it's time to learn some need-to-know information about this disease.
What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms include the following:
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Call your doctor if you notice any of the listed symptoms and either of the following items is true for you:
- You have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19.
- You have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
Who Is at Greater Risk for Severe Illness?
The following groups may face an increased risk from COVID-19:
- Older adults, with risk increasing by age
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
What Is Social Distancing and Why Is It Important?
You may have heard about social distancing being important during this outbreak. Because this virus is spread through respiratory droplets and the droplets can reach between three and six feet, the concept of social distancing comes into play.
Social distancing is about maintaining a certain distance between yourself and others. Health experts note that social distancing has been effective in slowing the spread of many outbreaks in the past.
That is why many universities, schools, and other institutions have closed and have switched to an online setting. Furthermore, many state departments are requesting the canceling or postponing of large gatherings that include 250 people or more.
Social distancing examples include the following:
- Avoiding public places like malls, theaters and even grocery stores
- Allowing people to work from home
- Avoiding the use of public transportation
How Can I Get Tested?
In terms of testing, all states have a verified COVID-19 diagnostic test and are offering testing.
If you are concerned and believe you have COVID-19, call ahead to your doctor or a health care facility.
You will be asked about your symptoms and exposure. Your doctor or health care facility will decide whether you need to be observed in person. They may consult with your state authorities regarding where and how to perform the testing. You will be given instructions on how to get tested in a way that limits exposure to other people. Calling ahead is important to protect others.
There is no treatment for COVID-19. But people who are mildly ill may not need to be hospitalized. In fact, they may be able to isolate themselves at home and recover. Your doctor will determine the best course of action for you.
Contact your state health department if you have any questions about testing. Those who face a higher risk for severe illness are advised to contact their health care provider early — even if the illness is mild so far.
How Do I Know if I Need Immediate Medical Attention?
The emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include the following:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
This list is not all-inclusive. Speak with your doctor about other concerning symptoms to look out for.