A coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory infections in humans.
Illnesses can range from the common cold or flu to more severe conditions, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
A new strain of coronavirus — SARS coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2 — causes COVID-19, a respiratory disease.
SARS-CoV-2 spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, releasing droplets that can land in an uninfected person's nose or mouth.
It may also spread by touching an infected item, such as a doorknob, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
The SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 outbreak started in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.
Some people who are infected with COVID-19 may only have mild symptoms. But COVID-19 can also lead to more serious — even deadly — complications, like pneumonia.
Those most at risk for COVID-19 complications include people who:
Follow these tips to lower your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
COVID-19 symptoms can start anytime from two days to two weeks after exposure to SARS-CoV-2. They're similar to symptoms of a cold or flu and may include:
To confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis, you will need lab tests.
Your doctor will work with these labs to arrange testing.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorizations to two vaccines to prevent COVID-19. These vaccines are being distributed in a phased rollout and are not yet available to the general public. Please visit upmc.com/covidvaccine to learn more.
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests people who have COVID-19 should get treatment for their symptoms. People with severe illness require hospital care.
From the HealthBeat blog:
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