What is the coronavirus?
A new strain of coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a betacoronavirus, similar to MERS and SARS, that causes respiratory illness. It was first discovered in Wuhan, China and has already infected thousands of people in China.
How is it spread?
It is spread through air droplets and can be spread from person-to-person, similar to how the flu and other respiratory viruses are spread.
What’s the situation with coronavirus in the United States?
As of 1/31/2020, there have been 6 confirmed cases and another 121 have been tested for the virus and are awaiting the results. At time of publication, there have been no reported cases in the state of Georgia. However, it is very likely that there will more confirmed cases and the virus will likely spread to more cities and states in the U.S.
This is an evolving epidemic and the risks can change rapidly. Stay tuned in to the CDC’s website for the most current and accurate updates.
What are the symptoms?
Fever, cough, shortness of breath. The CDC believes that symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.
How is it treated?
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus other than supportive therapy to help relieve symptoms (i.e. cough medicine, antipyretics to bring down fever, fluids, steroids).
If you’ve traveled to China within the past 14 days and are starting to develop symptoms of respiratory illness, you should contact your doctor to be seen. Alert your medical provider and be sure to wear a face mask to help prevent the spread of the illness to others.
How can I protect myself?
“There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.”
It’s important to note that the CDC is not recommending the use of facemasks for the general public.
Jeremiah Robinson is a licensed and certified Physician Assistant at T. Douglas Gurley MD in Atlanta, GA.