The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness. It is caused by a new (novel) coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. There are many types of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a common cause of bronchitis. They may sometimes cause a viral lung infection (pneumonia). Symptoms can range from mild to severe respiratory illness. Visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page for the latest updates.
What are the symptoms?
Some people have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after contact with the virus. Symptoms can include:
- Trouble breathing
Call 911 if you experience any of the following:
- Have pain or tightness in your chest
- Have trouble breathing
- Have dizzy spells or feel faint
- Feel anxious or if you feel like something bad will happen
How is the Coronavirus diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your symptoms, as well as recent travel and contact with sick people. If your doctor thinks you may have COVID-19, he or she will work with your local health department on testing. Follow all instructions from your healthcare provider. COVID-19 is diagnosed by:
- A cotton-tipped swab is wiped inside your nose or throat. A nose and throat swab is used to check for viruses in your nasal mucus.
- A small sample of mucus coughed from your lungs (sputum) is collected if you have a cough. A sputum culture is performed to check for the virus.
How is COVID-19 treated?
There is currently no medication to treat COVID-19. Supportive care treatment is done to help your body while it fights the coronavirus. Supportive care may include:
- Rest. This helps your body fight the illness.
- Stay hydrated. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of liquids each day. This includes water, sports drinks, soft drinks without caffeine, juices, tea, and soup.
- Take pain medicine (acetaminophen and ibuprofen). They help ease pain and reduce fever. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
For severe illness, you may need to be hospitalized. Your care during severe illness may include:
- IV (intravenous) fluids. These are given through a vein to help keep your body hydrated.
- Oxygen. Supplemental oxygen or ventilation with a breathing machine (ventilator) may be given so you get enough oxygen in your body.
Are there complications from COVID-19?
In many cases, this virus can cause an infection (pneumonia) in both lungs. In some cases, it can cause death. Certain people are at higher risk for complications. This includes older adults and people with serious chronic health conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes.
How can the Coronavirus be prevented?
There is no vaccine yet. The best prevention is to not have contact with the virus. Prepare and protect yourself from COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. Make sure it has at least 60% alcohol.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have clean hands.
- Clean your home and work surfaces often with disinfectant.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue into the trash. If you don’t have tissues, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
- Stay informed about COVID-19 in your area. Follow local instructions for “social distancing.”
- The CDC advises wearing a cloth face mask in public.
- Check your supplies at home. Consider keeping a 2-week supply of medicines, food, and other household items.
- Don’t be around people who are sick.
- There is no evidence right now that animals spread SARS-CoV-2. But wash your hands after touching any animals.
- Don’t share eating or drinking utensils with sick people.
- Don’t kiss someone who is sick.
If you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms:
- Stay home. Call your healthcare provider and tell them you have symptoms of COVID-19. Do not go to the doctor’s office. You can arrange a telehealth visit. You may be directed to stay home, or “self-quarantine”.
- Don’t panic. Keep in mind that other illnesses have similar symptoms.
- Stay away from public places. Limit physical contact with family members. Limit visitors. Don’t kiss anyone or share eating or drinking utensils. Clean surfaces you touch with disinfectant to help prevent the virus from spreading.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw away the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have tissues, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
- Wear a facemask if you have symptoms.
- If you need to go into a hospital or medical center, know that the healthcare staff will be wearing protective equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves, and eye protection. You may be put in a separate room. This is to prevent the possibility of the virus from spreading.
- Tell your healthcare provider about recent travel (local travel on public transportation). The healthcare staff may need to find other people you have been in contact with.
If you have been diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Stay home. Don’t leave your home unless you need to get medical care. Don’t use public transportation or Uber.
- Follow all instructions from your healthcare provider. Call your healthcare provider’s office before going there. Have a household plan.
- If you need to go to a hospital or medical clinic, expect that the healthcare staff will wear protective equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves, and eye protection. You may be put in a separate room. This is to prevent possible virus from spreading.
- Wear a face mask. This is to protect other people from your germs.
- Stay away from other people in your home.
- Limit contact with pets and animals. Although there are no reports of pets getting sick with COVID-19, consider limiting contact with pets until more is known.
- Don’t share household items or food.
- Cover your face with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away. Then wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often.
If you are caring for a sick person:
- Follow all instructions from the healthcare staff.
- Wash your hands often.
- Wear protective clothing as advised.
- Make sure the sick person wears a mask. If they can’t wear a mask, don’t stay in the same room with the person. If you must be in the same room, wear a facemask.
- Keep track of the sick person’s symptoms.
- Clean surfaces, fabrics, and laundry thoroughly.
- Keep other people and pets away from the sick person.
Call your healthcare provider right away:
- If you’ve recently traveled or have been in an area with COVID-19 and have symptoms.
- If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and your symptoms are worse.
If you have additional questions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), contact a physician at First Choice Neurology from one of our Florida locations.