Coronavirus: 4 things you need to know

As the number of patients confirmed to have coronavirus continues to climb, here are four things to know about the virus.

1. What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms can include, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Additional symptoms may include runny nose, sore throat and possibly a headache, CNN reported.

People with weak immune systems, specifically the young and elderly, are at higher risk of the virus turning into a respiratory tract illness, according to CNN.

Symptoms can appear from two days to 14 days after exposure to the virus, using data from other similar viruses, the CDC says.

Some believed that patients could transmit the illness before they seem sick, but CNN reported that has not been confirmed.

2. How is it transmitted?

The coronavirus normally is spread from animals to humans and it is believed that the outbreak started in a seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China. But there are reports that it is being transmitted person-to-person. The CDC says person-to-person transmittal has not yet happened in the U.S., but officials say it is expected to spread in hospitals.

Despite the number of infected patients in China, the CDC is considering the threat to Americans as low at this time. If you think you've been exposed to the coronavirus, you should contact your doctor immediately.

CNN reported that some coronavirus patients had a mild cough for a week then shortness of breath spurring them to visit a doctor.

3. How to prevent transmission?

The CDC says the best way to prevent getting infected is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Since the coronavirus hasn’t seemed to spread person-to-person in the U.S., there are no extra precautions needed at this time. But they say you should always take care to prevent any respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you can't use soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you're sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throwing it away.
  • Clean, disinfect areas that are frequently touched.

4. How is coronavirus treated?

Right now, there is no specific antiviral treatment for the infection, according to the CDC. If diagnosed with coronavirus, doctors can treat the patients to relieve symptoms, and in advanced cases, treatment will include support for vital organ functions, according to the CDC.

While the death toll rises in China, there have been no deaths from coronavirus outside of the country, NBC News reported.

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