Coronavirus is a type of virus that can cause respiratory diseases in humans and animals. In 2019, a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Wuhan, China, and spread rapidly around the world. An infection with the new coronavirus causes a respiratory disease called COVID-19. As with most viruses, the incubation period for SARS-CoV-2 can vary from person to person. Read to know how long symptoms can develop and what to do if you think you have COVID-19.
What you should know about the incubation period
How is the virus transmitted?
How to protect yourself
The best way to prevent you from getting the new coronavirus is to wash your hands often. Use soap and water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have soap and water, you can also use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Other forms of protection include:
- Stay 6 feet away from at least anyone who appears to be sick and avoid large groups of people.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Do not share personal items with others. This includes things like glasses, utensils, toothbrushes, and lip balm.
- Clean the most contact surfaces like knobs, keyboards, and handrails in your house with household cleaners or a dilute chlorine solution.
- Wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer after touching surfaces like an elevator or ATM buttons, gasoline pump handles, and grocery carts.
- Stay home and call your doctor if you start to have respiratory problems and think your symptoms are consistent with those of COVID-19.
What are the typical symptoms?
- difficulty breathing
Other less common symptoms may include:
- nasal congestion
- sore throat
- runny nose
COVID-19 has more respiratory symptoms than a cold, which usually causes a runny nose, congestion, and sneezing. Also, fever is not so common when we have a cold. The flu has symptoms similar to those of COVID-19. However, COVID-19 is more likely to cause difficulty breathing and other respiratory symptoms. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of developing more severe symptoms. However, some people can become seriously ill after contracting COVID-19. Other adults and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of developing more severe symptoms.
What should you do if you think you have symptoms of COVID-19?
- what kind of symptoms do you have
- how severe are your symptoms
- if you have traveled abroad or had contact with someone who has traveled abroad
- if you’ve been in large groups of people
You may need to be evaluated if:
- your symptoms are severe
- you are older
- you have underlying medical conditions
- you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
Your doctor will determine if you need to have a test and what type of treatment is best. If your symptoms are moderate and you have no underlying medical conditions, your doctor may direct you to stay home, rest, hydrate, and avoid contact with other people. If your symptoms worsen after a few days of rest, it is important to receive immediate medical attention.
What are the other types of coronaviruses?
- SARS-CoV, which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The SARS incubation period is usually 2 to 7 days but can be up to 10 days in some people.
- MERS-CoV, which causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The incubation period for MERS-CoV is between 2 and 14 days, with an average of 5 to 6 days.
Most people who develop COVID-19 begin to notice symptoms 3-14 days after being exposed to the new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. On average, it takes about 5 days to develop symptoms, but this may change as we learn more about the virus. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor for advice. Until you know what type of illness you have, stay home, and avoid contact with other people.