- Fever of 100 F or higher
- Dry or productive cough
- Body aches
- Muscle or joint pain
- Loss of taste or smell
- Nasal congestion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Skin rashes
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Loss of speech
- Loss of appetite
- Bluish lips or face
- Seizures or loss of consciousness (rare)
- Delirium, brain inflammation, stroke, or nerve damage (rare)
Most patients with COVID-19 experience mild to moderate respiratory infection that resolves without treatment. Serious complications are more likely to occur in the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, chronic respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Complications can be fatal in such people.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
COVID-19 is a virus that spreads through droplets of discharge from the nose or saliva that are inhaled when an infected person coughs or sneezes, often within 6 feet. When a person is exposed to small droplets or aerosols that remain in the air for several minutes or hours, they can become infected with the virus.
COVID-19 can also spread through surface contact. If a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes, they can become infected with the virus.
On average, it takes about 5-6 days for symptoms to appear after infection, although this can range between 1-14 days.
What are treatment options for COVID-19?
COVID-19 is treated based on the severity of the disease and lung involvement.
Mild COVID-19 symptoms can be alleviated through rest, hydration, medications, and supplements as prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics are ineffective because they are used for bacterial infections and not viral infections. For severe cases, supportive care includes oxygen and respiratory support such as ventilation.
Clinical studies are currently ongoing to target specific viral particles. The use of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, lopinavir, ritonavir, and interferon in the treatment of COVID-19 has been shown to have little or no effect.
Remdesivir is the only drug approved by the FDA to manage moderate to severe infections. Monoclonal antibodies (bamlanivimab and etesevimab; casirivimab and imdevimab; tixagevimab and cilgavimab) have been shown to be effective in intensive care unit settings on a case-to-case basis.
What are preventive measures for COVID-19?
Vaccination can help people avoid contracting COVID-19 or becoming extremely ill if they do become infected. Even if you have been vaccinated, precautions should still be taken:
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people.
- Stay away from crowded and poorly ventilated areas.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cough or sneeze into your mask and replace it as soon as possible. If you are not wearing a mask, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Throw away the used tissue and wash your hands as soon as possible.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, or face.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- If you have been exposed to the virus:
- Quarantine: Quarantine involves residing in a designated facility or at home for 14 days after being exposed to the virus or coming into contact with a person infected with COVID-19.
- Isolation: People who have tested positive for COVID-19 symptoms must remain in isolation. If there is no risk of developing serious illness, symptomatic patients should be kept in isolation for 10 days and another 3 days after symptoms have resolved. Asymptomatic patients should be isolated for 10 days.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
World Health Organization. WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. https://covid19.who.int
Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. COVID-19 Dashboard. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
National Institutes of Health. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Monoclonal Antibodies. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/therapies/anti-sars-cov-2-antibody-products/anti-sars-cov-2-monoclonal-antibodies/