What to Do If You Are Sick
Symptoms of COVID‑19 may show up 2‑14 days after exposure. The steps you should take if you think you are sick with COVID‑19 depend on whether you have a higher risk of developing severe illness.
People 65 years or older, and/or people with medical issues, like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, or a weakened immune system, are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID‑19.
- If you are a high-risk individual and you develop fever or symptoms, call your doctor.
- If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow your doctor’s instructions and refer to CDC recommendations for how to take care of yourself at home.
If you are in generally good health and have mild symptoms, stay home and take care of yourself like you would for a cold or the flu.
If symptoms worsen, call your doctor.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Patients with COVID‑19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms can include:
Prevention of COVID-19
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID‑19. The best way to prevent infection is to take steps to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the steps you take to avoid the flu.
How COVID-19 Spreads
Current understanding about how the virus that causes COVID‑19 spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.