Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus have mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illnesses.
The best way to prevent and slow transmission is to know the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes, and how it is spread. Protect yourself and others from infection by frequently washing your hands or rubbing yourself with alcohol without touching your face.
The COVID-19 virus is spread primarily through droplets of saliva or a runny nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it is also important to follow respiratory etiquette (for example, cough into a bent elbow).
To prevent infection and slow down the transmission of COVID-19, do the following:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Keep a distance of at least 1 meter between yourself and people who are coughing or sneezing.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- If you are not feeling well, stay at home.
- Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
- Practice physical distance by avoiding unnecessary travel and avoiding large groups of people.
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.
The most common symptoms are:
- dry cough.
Less common symptoms:
- aches and pains.
- sore throat.
- loss of taste or smell.
- rash or discoloration of fingers or toes.
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- chest pain or pressure.
- loss of speech or movement.
Seek medical attention immediately if severe symptoms develop. Always call your doctor or healthcare provider before visiting.
People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home.
On average, it takes 5 to 6 days from the moment a person becomes infected with the virus before symptoms appear, but it can take up to 14 days.