A coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious conditions like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
A new type of coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, emerged worldwide in 2020. SARS-CoV-2 causes the disease COVID-19, which has become a global pandemic.
Learn more about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, including causes, symptoms, vaccines, and treatment options.
SARS-CoV-2 spreads through respiratory droplets.
When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, it releases droplets that can land in an uninfected person's nose, mouth, or eyes. This is how COVID-19 most commonly spreads.
Less commonly, COVID-19 can spread when a person touches an infected surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Some people who have COVID-19 may be asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms. But COVID-19 can also lead to more serious — even deadly — complications.
Those most at risk for COVID-19 complications include:
Follow these tips to lower your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
COVID-19 symptoms can start anytime from 2 to 14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2. They're similar to symptoms of a cold or flu and may include:
Because COVID-19 symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases, lab tests are necessary to confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis.
If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, call your doctor or use UPMC AnywhereCare. They can arrange testing for you.
UPMC has COVID-19 testing centers throughout our communities. You will need an appointment or doctor referral to get tested. Walk-in testing is not available.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized multiple COVID-19 treatments. UPMC recommends an oral medication called Paxlovid™ OR monoclonal antibody treatment for outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 and a risk factor for progression to severe disease.
Paxlovid is an oral antiviral medication that must be taken within five (5) days of symptom onset. Paxlovid is available at retail pharmacies and can be prescribed by a medical provider (doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant). If you have low renal function (eGFR < 30 mL/min), you are not eligible for Paxlovid. Your doctor should carefully review your list of medications before you take Paxlovid, as some medications cannot be taken with Paxlovid.
Monoclonal antibodies, another COVID-19 treatment, must be administered within seven (7) days of symptom onset. To learn more about this treatment and find out if you are eligible, visit our monoclonal antibodies webpage.
From the HealthBeat blog:
From other sources: