With nearly 3 million total cases and over a hundred thousand deaths in the US alone, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed lives here and across the world. A dangerous species of the coronavirus (a family of viruses that include SARS and MERS), COVID-19 is still seeing a rise in cases in the US. Since there’s no vaccine for the respiratory virus, prevention and protection are very important to dealing with COVID-19.
In most cases, COVID-19 is transmitted when someone with the virus exhales microscopic airborne droplets, especially by sneezing or coughing. Less often, the virus can spread through contaminated surfaces.
COVID-19 causes a wide range of symptoms and varies in severity from person to person, but it commonly causes a cough, sore throat, and/or loss of smell, among other issues with your ears, nose, and throat. Accomplished physician Dr. Wade Han and the Florida Ear Nose Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center have decades of experience helping patients in the Orlando and Kissimmee, FL area with many different ear, nose and throat conditions.
Here is some important information about dealing with COVID-19.
How is COVID-19 spread?
Like most forms of coronavirus, COVID-19 is an airborne pathogen that infects people through inhaling respiratory droplets. These droplets come from infected people by coughing, sneezing or talking. Surfaces and objects that infected people touch can also carry the virus and transfer it to others, but it’s a higher risk to be near an infected person without protective measures including facemasks and social distancing.
The incubation period is usually 2-14 days, during which people may show no symptoms. That means you may not feel sick until two weeks after you’ve been exposed.
What are the symptoms?
Very similar to other viruses like colds and flu, common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, fatigue, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, runny nose and headache. Early symptoms may include a loss of taste or smell. Other symptoms uncommon the colds and flu may also be present, such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
If someone has a severe case of COVID-19 more symptoms may be present, such as difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain, inability to stay awake, confusion and blue lips or face. If symptoms like this, are present seek emergency care immediately.
How do you manage it?
Without a vaccine to protect from getting the virus, the best available methods of prevention are safety precautions, maintaining a safe distance from others and wearing a face covering the face to avoid spreading viral droplets.
If you’re feeling ill simply stay home and get plenty of rest. Even if you’re not ill, only go out in public when necessary and wear a mask or face covering when you do. It’s best to avoid crowded indoor places, even if they’ve been permitted to stay open or reopen. Keep in mind that many cases of COVID-19 don’t cause symptoms, so you may be carrying the virus without knowing it. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others when out in public.
Avoid close contact with others, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Be sure to throw the tissue away and and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water are not immediately available, hand sanitizer is acceptable but make sure it is at least 60% alcohol. Be sure to clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are commonly used, like countertops, doorknobs, silverware, and plates.
The key to safety is staying safe is being cautious in public and sanitizing regularly, both to avoid getting sick and protect others.
COVID-19 and other viruses often get into the body through the ear nose and throat. If you have questions or concerns about getting infected, make an appointment with Dr. Han and Florida Ear Nose Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center for help today.