What is Coronavirus & How Can I Prevent It?

The coronavirus is making headlines this month as a new strain has been spreading through parts of China, with approximately five cases in the United States and one case detected in the Seattle area so far. Knowing the symptoms and when to go get examined at an urgent care or emergency room will help you stay safe as a vaccination and cure are determined. 

What is the Coronavirus?

There are two main types of Coronavirus: common, including the cold, flu and strep throat, and a more severe type such as MERS and SARS. Symptoms reflect other viruses and can progress into pneumonia. A case of SARS has not been reported worldwide since 2004, while most MERS cases are reported from countries along the Arabian Peninsula. The current strain of Coronavirus was first diagnosed in Wuhan, China, where several thousand patients have developed symptoms. Three students at University of Washington were recently tested after returning from travel and have received negative results.  

Symptoms of Coronavirus

Symptoms of the Coronavirus primarily affect the upper respiratory system and include:

  • Cough and chest congestion
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sore or irritated throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Gastrointestinal issues and diarrhea

For the current strain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that symptoms appear between two days and two weeks after initial exposure, though an infected person could still be contagious without knowing it. The period between exposure and symptoms matches that of the MERS virus. Coronavirus is not the only virus with an incubation period before symptoms develop: it can take up to 10 days for signs of a cold, flu or the chickenpox to appear and let you know something is wrong. More serious symptoms of the current Coronavirus include a fever of over 100.4, kidney failure and pneumonia. 

How does the Coronavirus Spread & How Can I Protect Myself?

The Coronavirus is transmitted though touching contaminated objects and surfaces or by being in range when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can protect yourself the way you prevent catching other viruses and illnesses:

  • Washing your hands regularly throughout the day with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds, especially after using the restroom, public transportation, handling raw food or changing a diaper
  • Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow and avoid being close to people who are sick
  • Do not touch your face, nose, ears, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands
  • If you are planning on traveling to China, discuss preventative measures with your healthcare provider

Illness Treatment in Southcenter, Kent, Tukwila, Renton & SeaTac, WA

If you begin to exhibit symptoms of a respiratory infection, visit AFC Urgent Care Southcenter as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. We will be able to perform a test in our lab to determine if it is the flu or strep throat, or whether you will need to go to the emergency room for more specialized treatment. Most major insurance plans are accepted. For questions, please call 425-970-8117.