COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, is a brand-new virus in the news for how quickly it is spreading, with 41 presumptive positive cases reported in the state as of March 10th. This virus was originally detected in Wuhan, China, and has quickly made its way worldwide. COVID-19 is unlike many other illnesses and scientists are still working to determine its origin, vaccination and cure. Because it is spreading so quickly, it is important to learn the symptoms and how to keep yourself healthy. If you begin to exhibit symptoms, you should call ahead to your doctor or AFC Urgent Care Springfield so the facility can prepare for your visit and avoid passing it to other patients.
What is COVID-19?
A coronavirus is an upper respiratory infection. There are two separate types of coronavirus: common and novel. A common type of coronavirus is the cold, flu or strep throat, which are easily treated with medications, fluids and rest. Novel coronaviruses are more severe and include the MERS and SARS outbreaks. MERS has since been contained, with cases reported in the Middle East, while SARS has not been detected across the globe since 2004. COVID-19 has never been seen before, with no known vaccination at this time.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
The coronavirus has an incubation period of between two and fourteen days after exposure, during which time you can be contagious and spreading the virus without knowing that you are sick yourself. COVID-19 presents with flu-like symptoms, which adds to the growing concern of illness this flu season. If you begin to exhibit the following symptoms, you should call a doctor immediately for assessment and testing:
- Dry cough
- High fever (over 102 F)
- Nasal or chest congestion
- Runny nose
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
The coronavirus spreads through direct contact with an infected person, object or surface. The CDC expects the virus to reach transmission through community spread at some point in the near future. There are several steps you can take to remain healthy until a vaccine is found for COVID-19:
- Wash your hands throughout the day with soap and hot water. You should scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds each time you wash your hands, then apply lotion to prevent dryness and cracking. If you have trouble with keeping track of how long 20 seconds is, sing a verse of Happy Birthday while scrubbing before rinsing your hands under the water. You should at least be washing your hands after changing a diaper, using the bathroom, before and after handling food and before eating. If soap or water are unavailable, you should use hand sanitizer to remove germs from your hands. However, it is important to note than hand sanitizer cannot be used as a replacement for washing your hands, and is unable to break down buildup on your hands.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes or mouth with unwashed hands. Germs collect on your fingers and hands every time you touch a surface, and when you touch your eyes or mouth they can quickly make their way into your system and get you sick.
- Wipe down your most commonly used surfaces at least once per day with antibacterial cleaning agents or disinfectant wipes. This should include your desk, food preparation areas, car steering wheel, door handles, faucets and stair railings. Germs can live longer on surfaces than on your hands, which makes you more susceptible to getting sick by contact with germ buildup.
Illness Treatment in Springfield & West Springfield, MA
If you are beginning to develop symptoms of the coronavirus or another upper respiratory infection, call AFC Urgent Care Springfield or AFC Urgent Care West Springfield for examination. Please call ahead so our staff can prepare for your arrival. AFC Urgent Care Springfield can be reached by calling 413-782-4878, and AFC Urgent Care West Springfield can be reached by calling 413-781-0100.