The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world. To help prevent the spread of this virus, it is important to understand how it is transmitted and what steps can be taken to reduce the risk of infection. One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If you are not wearing a mask, you should use a tissue or the inside of your elbow to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
It is important to dispose of used tissues in the trash and then wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. COVID-19 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, with symptoms appearing 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of sense of taste or smell. Older people and those with chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes may be more severely affected by COVID-19. The virus is spread through droplets that come out into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, sings, or breathes.
If you come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (within approximately 6 feet or 2 meters), you can become infected if you breathe in these droplets. The risk of spreading COVID-19 increases when you are in close contact with others for longer periods of time. If you have COVID-19 or have symptoms of it, it is important to isolate yourself at home and avoid contact with others both inside and outside your home in order to prevent spreading the disease. This is known as home isolation or self-quarantine.