COVID-19, short for "Coronavirus Disease 2019," is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by SARS-CoV-2. The virus was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and quickly spread into a major pandemic by March 2020.
COVID-19 primarily spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. It can also spread by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then touching the face, especially the mouth, nose, or eyes.
Symptoms of the virus can range from mild to severe and may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. According to the CDC, the novel coronavirus was the third leading cause of death in the US in the first two years of the pandemic, preceded only by heart disease and cancer.
It is crucial for everyone to understand the virus, how it spreads, its impact on people and communities, and the measures needed to prevent infection. The symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe and may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Common symptoms include:
Keep in mind that not everyone will exhibit all of these symptoms. In fact, some people might not exhibit any symptoms or may have very mild symptoms. Since the virus shares many similar symptoms with other coronaviruses, seasonal viruses, and influenza, it can be tricky to distinguish them from these illnesses.
Taking preventive actions helps protect yourself and others from COVID-19:
Vaccination: Get COVID-19 vaccinated when eligible and follow recommended booster shots for ongoing protection.
Mask-Wearing: Wear masks, especially in crowded or indoor settings, to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets.
Hand Hygiene: Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Physical Distancing: Keep a safe distance from others, particularly in enclosed spaces.
Avoid Crowds: Limit gatherings and events to reduce the risk of transmission.
Stay Home: If you feel unwell, especially if you have symptoms, stay home to avoid spreading the virus.
Testing: Get tested if you experience symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed case.
Isolation and Quarantine: Follow guidelines if you test positive (isolation) or have been exposed (quarantine) to prevent spread.
Travel Precautions: Check travel advisories and follow safety measures during travel.
Respiratory Etiquette: When sneezing or coughing, it is important to always cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief, tissue, or your elbow to prevent the spread of the disease.
It's important to note that some individuals may develop more severe illnesses, particularly older adults and those with underlying health conditions. By staying informed, practicing preventive measures, and supporting one another, we can collectively reduce the impact of COVID-19 and help our communities stay safe and healthy.
It is important to inoculate yourself against the COVID-19 virus and follow with booster shots for your continued health and well-being. At Altimate Care & Services, we offer COVID-19 vaccination services aimed at keeping you safe and helping eradicate the disease. Learn more about our vaccination offerings and schedule your appointment by visiting our primary care services.