With the number of coronavirus cases still steadily increasing worldwide, health officials warned Americans last week to prepare for the possibility of a domestic outbreak. Now, everyone’s wondering: What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and how do I protect myself from it?

It’s understandable why even people from countries with only a handful of coronavirus cases or no cases at all are already on the lookout for symptoms of COVID-19. From China, the virus has already spread to at least 26 other countries around the world since January, making even a simple case of sniffles a cause for concern for many.

What is coronavirus and what are its symptoms?

The novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China and has now spread to dozens of locations internationally, including the U.S. It causes an illness called COVID-19 (CoronaVirusDisease2019).

Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, sore throat, fever, and runny nose. While some cases of the disease are mild, some are likely to lead to severe pneumonia, which comes with fatigue, chest pain, intractable vomiting, and shortness of breath. These symptoms of COVID-19 usually appear in two to 14 days after exposure to the novel coronavirus.

How do you protect yourself from the new coronavirus?

Since the WHO declared COVID-19 a global health emergency, the organization has released on its website basic protective measures against the new coronavirus to curb its spread. Do the following to protect yourself from the coronavirus:

  1. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water to kill the viruses that may already be on your hands.
  2. Distance yourself from anyone who is coughing or sneezing so you won’t breathe in the droplets coming from the person’s nose or mouth.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth because if you touch them with your hand contaminated with the coronavirus, it will make it easier for the virus to enter your body.
  4. Follow strict respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  5. Seek medical care as soon as you develop flu-like symptoms like fever and cough, especially when you know you’ve come in contact with someone with COVID-19.

As of this writing, no specific treatment is available yet for COVID-19 but research is already underway.

corona virus
The novel coronavirus has already infected thousands in China. World Health Organization (WHO) / Facebook

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