Questions about COVID? We know that COVID-19 is complex and information is changing as scientists and healthcare professionals learn more about the virus. Here are the latest answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19:
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus have mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without needing special treatment. Older adults and those with underlying medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
The best way to prevent and slow transmission is to be well-acquainted with the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes, and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently and not touching your face.
The COVID-19 virus is mainly spread through droplets of saliva or secretions from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it is important that you also practice breathing etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).
COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus. Human coronaviruses spread like the flu or a cold:
- Through the air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it
- Occasionally, fecal contamination
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent shivering with chills
- muscle pain
- sore throat
- New loss of sense of taste or smell
Symptoms may appear within 2 or up to 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses ranged from people with few or no symptoms to people who became very ill and died.
Most people with mild symptoms can recover at home without medical care. If you would like to be tested for a diagnosis, contact your healthcare provider or schedule an appointment at a publicly available testing location.
If you do not want to be tested, it is still important to stay home, isolate, avoid contact with others, and rest and drink fluids. If you feel worse, contact your healthcare provider.
for severe symptoms (including fever above 100 degrees), contact your healthcare provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital or urgent care to make an appointment.
If it is an emergency, call 911.
Emergency warning signs can include:
- breathing difficulties
- Constant pain or pressure in the chest
- new confusion
- Inability to wake up or stay awake
- bluish lips or face
- Get the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are the best tools we have for protecting against COVID-19 and variants. All Pennsylvania residents age 5 and older You can get COVID-19 for free SerumRegardless of insurance or immigration status.
- Keep your distance from people you don’t live with and avoid crowds.
- Download the COVID Alert PA mobile app to be alerted if you have been near someone who has tested positive for the virus, and to alert others if they test positive.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Clean high-touch surfaces frequently, including work surfaces, light switches, cell phones, remote controls, and other frequently touched items.
- If you are sick – even if your symptoms are mild – stay home until you feel better.