What is the coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV?
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that were first identified in the mid-1960s. The virus usually causes mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold.
How can you contract the coronavirus?
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 coronavirus symptoms?
Symptoms may include:
- runny nose
- cough (beathing issues)
- sore throat
- a general feeling of being unwell
Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.
How can I protect myself and my family?
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. At this time, Canadian officials say that 2019-nCoV poses a “low risk.” But it is a good idea to take extra precautions when in close quarters with others such as the airport, hospitals or subway train.
You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following:
- wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
- practice social distancing
How to protect others
If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following:
- stay home while you are sick
- avoid close contact with others
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
Diagnosis and treatment
Until recently, no sensitive, rapid method existed to detect all of the known human coronavirus strains. Rapid techniques that can be used to detect coronaviruses from nasopharyngeal samples include reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunofluorescence antigen detection assays.
There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illnesses will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms:
- take pain and fever medications
- use a cool-mist humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
If you are mildly sick, you should:
- drink plenty of liquids
- stay home and rest
If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider or call Wello.
Contact Wello if you have any health concerns: login now to book an appointment and talk to one of our clinicians.
Additional and up-to-date resources for;