The coronavirus is a global pandemic that has been affecting Massachusetts residents, with over 400 people currently under quarantine across the state and a growing number of school closures from preschool to university. The virus was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China at the end of December and has quickly made its way worldwide. Because it is a brand-new virus, there are still a number of things scientists are still trying to figure out, including the origin of the virus and a vaccination. Learning the symptoms of coronavirus is critical to getting tested and getting the correct treatment.

What is the coronavirus?

There are two types of coronavirus, which is an upper respiratory infection. The common coronavirus is the virus that leads to the cold, flu or strep throat, which are easily treatable with prescription and over-the-counter medications, fluids and rest. However, the current coronavirus is COVID-19, a virus that has never been seen before that is often compared to MERS, which is contained to the Arabian Peninsula, and SARS, which has not been detected anywhere in the world since 2004. While the new virus has similarities to previous outbreaks, it has enough of its own characteristics that previously used ways of slowing or eradicating it are not effective.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 has an incubation period of two to fourteen days, during which time you may not exhibit symptoms but may be required to self-isolate due to the threat of community spread. If you begin to exhibit the following symptoms, you should visit your closest hospital immediately for testing:

  • Dry cough that will not go away
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Congestion
  • High fever that will not break (over 102 F for adults, 103 F for children)
  • Stuffed or runny nose
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sore or irritated throat

What are steps I can take to prevent COVID-19?

Based on current research, COVID-19 is spread through direct contact with people, surfaces or objects that have been infected with the coronavirus. Community spread is thought to be possible with the coronavirus. In order to prevent illness, you should do the following:

  • Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do to prevent getting sick. Make sure you are using antibacterial soap and warm water and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. After you are done washing your hands, apply lotion to prevent dryness and breaks in the skin, which can allow germs and illness to enter your system. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, especially after going to the bathroom, changing a child’s diaper, preparing food, before eating and after using public transportation or high-traffic objects like elevator buttons, stair railings and door handles.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands, as much as possible.
  • Wipe down your most used objects and surfaces with disinfectant wipes at least once a day to kill germ buildup. This includes your desk, high-activity touchpoints, your phone and food preparation areas.

Illness Treatment in New Bedford, MA

If you have been exposed to the coronavirus, it is critical to go to the hospital for testing. For general upper respiratory infection treatment or questions, please call 508-990-1900.