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Coronavirus

Coronavirus Infections | Coronavirus | MedlinePlus


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Summary

Coronaviruses are common viruses that most people get some time in their life. They are common throughout the world, and they can infect people and animals. Several different coronaviruses can infect people and make them sick. They usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory illness. But, some coronaviruses can cause severe illness.

Coronaviruses probably spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, or by close personal contact. If you get infected, symptoms may include

  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever

You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by washing your hands often with soap and water, not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. There is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection. There are no specific treatments. You can relieve symptoms with pain and fever medicines and rest.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



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Coronavirus

What is a coronavirus?

ANSWER

A coronavirus is a type of common virus that can infect your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. They can spread much like cold viruses. Almost everyone gets a coronavirus infection at least once in their life, most likely as a young child.

Most coronaviruses are not dangerous, but some are. Those that cause Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS ) can be deadly.

SOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Coronavirus.”

World Health Organization: “Coronavirus Infections.”

Journal of Virology: “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV); Announcement of the Coronavirus Study Group.”

Journal of the American Medical Association News: “French Researchers: For Now, Middle Eastern Coronavirus Not Likely to Cause a Pandemic.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) or Common Cold.”

SOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Coronavirus.”

World Health Organization: “Coronavirus Infections.”

Journal of Virology: “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV); Announcement of the Coronavirus Study Group.”

Journal of the American Medical Association News: “French Researchers: For Now, Middle Eastern Coronavirus Not Likely to Cause a Pandemic.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) or Common Cold.”

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Coronavirus

Coronavirus | About | Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms

Common human coronaviruses

Common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.

Other human coronaviruses

Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have been known to frequently cause severe symptoms. MERS symptoms usually include fever, cough, and shortness of breath which often progress to pneumonia. About 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died. MERS cases continue to occur, primarily in the Arabian Peninsula. SARS symptoms often included fever, chills, and body aches which usually progressed to pneumonia. No human cases of SARS have been reported anywhere in the world since 2004.

Diagnosis

Your healthcare provider may order laboratory tests on respiratory specimens and serum (part of your blood) to detect human coronaviruses. Laboratory testing is more likely to be used if you have severe disease or are suspected of having MERS.

If you are experiencing symptoms, you should tell your healthcare provider about any recent travel or contact with animals. Most MERS-CoV infections have been reported from countries in the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore reporting a travel history or contact with camels or camel products is very important when trying to diagnose MERS. Top of Page

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Coronavirus

Coronavirus Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Types

A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous.

Some types of them are serious, though. More than 475 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In April 2014, the first American was hospitalized for MERS in Indiana and another case was reported in Florida. Both had just returned from Saudi Arabia. In May 2015, there was an outbreak of MERS in Korea which was the largest outbreak outside of the Arabian peninsula. People also died from a severe acute respiratory syndrome ( SARS ) outbreak in 2003. As of 2015, there were no further reports of cases of SARS. Both MERS and SARS are types of coronaviruses.

But usually a coronavirus causes common cold symptoms that you can easily treat with rest and over-the-counter medication.

What Is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s, but we don’t know where they come from. They get their name from their crown-like shape. Sometimes, but not often, a coronavirus can infect both animals and humans.

Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person’s hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.

Almost everyone gets a coronavirus infection at least once in their life, most likely as a young child. In the United States, coronaviruses are more common in the fall and winter, but anyone can come down with a coronavirus infection any time.

Common Symptoms of Coronavirus

The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper-respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever. In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.

You could get lab tests, including nose and throat cultures and blood work, to find out whether your cold was caused by a coronavirus, but there’s no reason to. The test results wouldn’t change how you treat your symptoms, which typically go away in a few days.

But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with heart disease, or people with weakened immune systems.

Continued

What to Do About Coronavirus

There is no vaccine for coronavirus. To help prevent coronavirus infection, do the same things you do to avoid the common cold:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are infected.

You treat a coronavirus infection the same way you treat a cold:

A humidifier or steamy shower can also help ease a sore and scratchy throat.

Even when coronavirus causes MERS or SARS in other countries, the kind of coronavirus infection common in the U.S. isn’t a serious threat for an otherwise healthy adult. If you get sick, treat your symptoms and contact a doctor if they get worse or don’t go away.

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