What You Need to Know About Coronavirus and COVID-19 – FAQs
About Coronavirus and COVID-19
What is coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. It's part of the same family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold.
How does the virus spread?
Right now, medical experts think that COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person through a cough, sneeze, or kiss. However, since COVID-19 is a new disease, scientists around the globe are racing to learn more about it.
What are the symptoms?
The most common early symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after being infected. Symptoms can be mild to severe. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Prevention and Treatment
How can I help protect myself?
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. Check the CDC website for up-to-date information. If you're traveling, you'll want to visit the CDC travel page for their most current travel guidelines.
Good health habits can also help prevent and fight COVID-19. You should:
- Wash 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 aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick. This includes staying home from work, school, errands, and travel for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone.
- Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like phones, keyboards, and doorknobs.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, drink lots of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Do I need to wear a facemask?
It's best to follow the CDC's recommendations for using a facemask.
- If you're not sick, the CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask to protect yourself from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should wear a facemask to help prevent spreading the disease to others.
- If you're a health care worker or are taking care of someone who has COVID-19, you should wear a facemask to protect yourself.
What if I have symptoms?
Call your doctor if you develop a fever, have a cough, or have difficulty breathing. And let them know if you've been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area where the virus has spread. If you think you're infected, using telehealth helps to prevent spreading a virus.
Are there any prescription drugs that can be used to treat COVID-19?
Right now, there are no prescription drugs that are approved to treat this virus. Scientists are working quickly to develop a treatment, so we are closely monitoring the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance for updates on the best treatments.
Are there any vaccines available to prevent COVID-19?
Not yet. Several vaccines are being tested, but they're still in the very early stages of development. After that, they'll need to go through clinical trials to be sure they are both safe and effective before they'd be ready for the public.
For more information, check the CDC website for up-to-date details and recommendations about COVID-19.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (accessed March 2020): cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (accessed March 2020): cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html.