Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): live updates

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Confirmed cases and deaths by country and territory

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Symptoms of coronavirus

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and can include:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • A general sickness

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. People who are older or have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at higher risk of serious illness. This is similar to what is seen with other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza.

Coronavirus prevention measures

Although there is no vaccine available to prevent infection with the new coronavirus, you can take steps to reduce your risk of infection. WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommend following the standard precautions for avoiding respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren't clean
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
  • Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you're sick
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch
  • Stay home from work, school and public areas if you're sick

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) doesn't recommend that healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. Only wear a mask if a health care provider tells you to do so.

WHO (World Health Organization) also recommends that you:

  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or animal organs.
  • Avoid contact with live animals and surfaces they may have touched if you're visiting live markets in areas that have recently had new coronavirus cases.

How are coronavirus infections diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider will:

  • Take your medical history, including asking about your symptoms
  • Do a physical exam
  • May do blood tests
  • May do lab tests of sputum, a sample from a throat swab, or other respiratory specimens

What are the treatments for coronavirus infections?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Most people will get better on their own. However, you can relieve your symptoms by:

  • Taking over-the-counter medicines for pain, fever, and cough. However, do not give aspirin to children. And do not give cough medicine to children under four.
  • Using a room humidifier or taking a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking fluids
  • If you are worried about your symptoms, contact your health care provider