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Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment

Prevention

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Unless you have recently traveled to affected countries, or have been exposed to a person with a confirmed COVID-19 infection, you need only follow the following routine hygiene etiquette:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol hand rub regularly, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Anyone who is ill should keep a safe distance (at least three feet) from others to reduce the risk of transmitting germs.
  • Stay home if you don’t feel well. If you’re seriously ill, seek medical advice from a healthcare provider or emergency department.

The CDC advises there is no need to wear a mask unless you need to avoid spreading your own respiratory illness to others, or are caring for someone with COVID-19.

Note that these hygiene etiquette guidelines may change based on one’s travel to areas where there has been a confirmed presence of coronavirus, or if cases of the coronavirus appear in Alabama.

The CDC offers additional guidance about coronavirus prevention.

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Symptoms

The main symptoms of coronavirus infection include the following, which sometimes worsen during the second week of infection:

  1. Fever: Fever is when a human's body temperature goes above the normal range of 98°F to 100°F.
  2. Dry Cough: A dry cough is a type of cough that does not bring up phlegm/mucous. Dry coughs are often short-lived and rarely a cause for concern. However, a chronic dry cough can be a symptom of an underlying condition — in this case, the coronavirus.
  3. Shortness of Breath. Shortness of breath is usually an uncomfortable sensation or awareness of breathing or needing to breathe.

The CDC offers additional guidance about coronavirus symptoms.

Treatment

According to the CDC, there currently is no vaccine to prevent contracting the coronavirus, or specific antiviral treatment for the disease.

Anyone who thinks he or she has been exposed to has contracted COVID-19 should contact a healthcare provider immediately to receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

Consult the CDC’s guidance for coronavirus treatment, as well as its Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for information on persons under investigation.

The best way treatment currently is taking rigorous steps to prevent exposure to or spreading the illness, including:

  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • staying home when you are sick.
  • covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. Consult the CDC’s Handwashing website for additional guidance.
  • following the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

Individuals who travel, especially to areas of the U.S. or world where cases of the coronavirus have emerged, should consult the CDC’s specific guidance for travelers.