What is a Novel Coronavirus?

Photo of coronavirus

As coronavirus cases grow across the country, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself and how you can seek care if you become sick.

What is a novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

How is it COVID-19 spread?

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through: the air by coughing and sneezing; close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and rarely, fecal contamination.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of coronavirus may include runny nose; headache; cough; sore throat; fever; and a general feeling of being unwell. If individuals have a respiratory illness, including fever and cough, and have recently traveled internationally to one of the countries where a COVID-19 outbreak has occurred or believe they may have been exposed to or infected with the novel coronavirus, they have options for care and assessment.

Learn how to get tested

How can I protect myself?

The spread of this virus is believed to be similar to the spread of other respiratory viruses. As this is also flu season, individuals should use proper handwashing technique and take preventative measures to avoid the spread of disease. Those with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette — maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your flexed elbow (not your hands) — and wash hands.

How is Coronavirus treated?

There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms, including: take pain and fever medications (caution: do not give aspirin to children); use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough; and, if you are mildly sick, you should drink plenty of liquids, stay home and rest.

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