Symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus range from mild to severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There’s even the possibility that you can be infected with the deadly disease but exhibit no symptoms at all.
So, it’s no surprise that some people are getting anxious at the first sign of a runny nose or sore throat. After a trip to China in early January, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s wife fell ill, and he tweeted the couple could be the ‘patient zero’ who exposed the United States to the deadly virus. Fortunately Janet Hill just had a sinus infection. Authorities are still unsure of the identity of ‘patient zero’ — the first case of coronavirus — in the United States.
Like most coronaviruses, COVID-19 causes respiratory distress. Symptoms include a fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. As the disease progresses, it can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure, which is particularly problematic for the very old, the very young and for those with compromised immune systems.
If you have mild symptoms, you should manage them at home. Use over-the-counter meds from your local drugstore or pharmacy. If they are effective, you probably have a cold or the flu.
READ MORE OF OUR BREAKING NEWS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS
And even if you have coronavirus, 80 percent of the cases are mild.
If you do experience more severe symptoms, you should call a doctor. These include shortness of breath, fever that won’t go down, weakness or lethargy.
The CDC recommends that people with coronavirus symptoms get checked out by a health care professional. It’s especially important to consider any other special risk factors. Have you been in contact with anyone else who was sick? Have you been traveling? More specifically, have you been to a country where the epidemic is flaring up, such as China, Korea or Italy? Have you been in close contact with anyone who has travelled recently to or from those regions?
If your doctor feels you may be at risk, they will swab your throat and nose and send the samples off to the CDC or to a designated laboratory close to you. Anyone can be tested on a doctor’s orders.
As in any developing crisis, it’s best not to panic but to be smart and prudent.