Coronavirus Resources

Understand Your Risk for Coronavirus

Young Woman Reads a Pamphlet in Waiting Room
Choose the health content that's right for you, and get it delivered right in your inbox

With news of a contagious coronavirus spreading, you may be worried that your family could be affected. The novel coronavirus, discovered in China in late 2019, is part of the human coronavirus family. While the current risk of contracting the illness is relatively low, here’s what you need to know about this condition and its symptoms.

What is Human Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on the surface of the virus. Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. At the onset of the illness, symptoms may include:

  • A general feeling of being unwell
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing

Without treatment, the virus can become more severe, leading to lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. To confirm presence of the illness, doctors will typically order laboratory tests on respiratory specimens and blood.

How Does Coronavirus Spread?

You’re likely familiar with previous coronavirus outbreaks include MERS (MERS-CoV) and SARS (SARS-CoV). Research shows that coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
  • Fecal contamination (rarely)

Where Did The Novel Coronavirus Come From?

In late 2019, the illness was first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. As of January 23, 2020, there have been more than 600 confirmed cases and 17 reported deaths, but only 2 case have been found in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the spread of this virus.

I Have the Symptoms Listed Above. Do I Have Coronavirus?

Most people with respiratory symptoms do not have the virus. If you did not travel to China recently, there is little risk of infection. It’s more likely that you’re experiencing symptoms of the flu, RSV or other respiratory viruses that are common. However, if you did travel to a region impacted by the Wuhan Coronavirus, you should visit an emergency room near you as soon as possible.

Keep Your Family Healthy

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands frequently or using alcohol-based sanitizer. You should also take precautions to avoid individuals who may be sick. If you or a loved one have severe respiratory symptoms, you should see a physician or visit an emergency room near you.

It’s normal to have concerns for your family’s health and safety. While you can take steps to protect yourself from the virus, such as practicing good hygiene, know that the AdventHealth care team is here for you.

Recent Blogs

A woman stretching in her bedroom.
Blog
What Is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy and How Can it Help?
A Woman Sits at a Table with a Cup of Tea Blowing Her Nose
Blog
Is It a Cold, the Flu, COVID-19 or Seasonal Allergies?
Blog
Fall Wellness: Free COVID-19 Tests Are Back Again
A mother and son on a couch. The mother is looking at a thermometer while the son lays his head on a pillow sitting on her lap while blowing his nose.
Blog
The Eris Variant: What We Know About EG.5
Blog
Keeping You Safe: Get ER Care Immediately for These Symptoms
View More Articles