1 | Am I at risk for COVID-19?
Most people who contract the virus recover in a matter of days, often at home, and experience only mild symptoms. Unfortunately, COVID-19 can be more serious for older adults and people with underlying medical issues. If you are 65 years of age or older or suffer from heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or other chronic medical conditions, you still need to be especially careful and vigilant in protecting yourself from the virus.
2 | What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms include a recurring dry cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Muscle pain, chills, headaches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell and extreme fatigue can also be symptoms of the virus.
3 | When do the symptoms occur?
Symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. The average is about five days. In other words, a person can be asymptomatic — that is, can have the virus and not experience any symptoms for an extended period of time — creating the possibility of passing on the virus to other people without knowing it. That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself and others by washing hands, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing, staying at least six feet from other people whenever possible, even if you have no symptoms.
4 | How is the virus spread?
The virus is mainly spread from person-to-person, especially when an infected person coughs or sneezes and their droplets land on a nearby person’s nose or mouth or are inhaled into the lungs. That’s the reason it’s important to cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue or your arm. COVID-19 can also be spread when a person touches a surface contaminated by the virus and then touches his or her mouth, nose or eyes. The best way to stop this type of spread is to stop touching your face with your hands and wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
5 | How does COVID-19 make a person sick?
Once inside the body, the virus infects the cells in the lining of the lung. A protein on the receptors of the virus can attach to a host cell’s receptors and then penetrate the cell. Once inside the host cell, the virus begins to duplicate itself until it kills the cell. This usually takes place in the upper respiratory tract, which includes the nose, mouth and bronchi, the large air passages that lead from the windpipe (trachea) to the lungs. Read more about what to do if you have been infected with COVID-19.
6 It is important to continue taking care of your health and wellness.
Continue your medications, and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider. Do not delay getting care for your health problems or any health condition that requires immediate attention. Our hospital has infection prevention plans to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care for your medical condition. Whether through an in-person appointment or a teleHealth visit, we are dedicated to you and your health.
View the most recent COVID-19 updates from Pleasant Valley Hospital here.