While the world tries to make sense of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to get swayed by myths like the virus being transmitted through mosquitoes or garlic being effective in healing the virus. Neither of these are true, by the way. They’re some examples of false information that cause people to panic.
Before you start spiraling down the internet’s endless bank of not-always-accurate information about COVID-19, it’s important to have a solid foundation of what you know about it. Here are the verified whats, hows, and whys of the virus that you should keep in mind before believing what you see online.
What Exactly Is COVID-19? What Are Its Symptoms?
COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus that first showed up in Wuhan, China. It spreads from person-to-person through respiratory droplets when people talk, cough, or sneeze. Asymptomatic people can still spread the virus to others. Older people and people with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk of getting infected.
Symptoms include fever, headaches, a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can appear anytime between two and 14 days since the person’s exposure to the virus.
Currently, there are no vaccines and treatments that heal COVID-19. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization and different countries’ health departments are working hard to contain the virus.
How Do You Protect Yourself from the Virus?
The World Health Organization, along with local and federal health departments, constantly give updates about COVID-19. But until an effective treatment or vaccine has been developed, the best way to protect yourself is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water and to avoid touching your face.
Many people also go online to buy KN95 masks that they can wear outside to prevent spreading the virus. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends these precautionary measures to avoid exposure:
- Only go out to get essentials or for important business matters.
- Maintain at least 6-feet distance from others whenever you go out.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid getting in contact with people who are sickor who are coughing and sneezing.
- Postpone all travels to other states and countries with travel health notices.
- Stay at home when you’re sick, even if it’s just the flu.
Although you have to protect yourself from the virus, you also have to protect others from it. Contact your healthcare provider if you have trouble breathing or if you experience worsening symptoms of COVID-19.
Why Do We Have to Stay at Home?
Many people think that once you have COVID-19, you’ll never recover from it. No matter how far away vaccines and treatment seem, you can heal from the virus. Some people actually recover from mild symptoms by staying at home and self-isolating. On the other side of the coin, you can minimize your chance of getting the virus by practicing safe physical distancing.
Staying at home also helps local health departments flatten the curve and keep track of the number of COVID-19 cases until there’s better access to testing and more efficient contact tracing of potentially infected individuals. Along with staying at home, you can contribute to the community by regularly washing your hands and wearing a face mask when you go out to get essentials.
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