Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
In early 2020, after a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified SARS-CoV-2 as a new type of corona-virus. The outbreak quickly spread around the world.
At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.
Symptoms of COVID-19
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.
Most common symptoms:
- dry cough.
Less common symptoms:
- aches and pains.
- sore throat.
- loss of taste or smell.
- a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes.
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- chest pain or pressure.
- loss of speech or movement.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms. Always call before visiting your doctor or health facility.
People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home.
On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days.
Corona Virus Prevention
To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintain at least 1 metre distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
- Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.
There’s no specific treatment for COVID-19. People who get a mild case need care to ease their symptoms, like rest, fluids, and fever control. Take over-the-counter medicine for a sore throat, body aches, and fever. But don’t give aspirin to children or teens younger than 19.
You might have heard that you shouldn’t take ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 symptoms. But the National Institutes of Health says people who have the virus can use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen as usual.
Antibiotics won’t help because they treat bacteria, not viruses. If you hear about people with COVID-19 getting antibiotics, it’s for an infection that came along with the disease.
People with severe symptoms need to be cared for in the hospital.
Many clinical trials are under way to explore treatments used for other conditions that could fight COVID-19 and to develop new ones.