What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a newly identified infectious disease that is part of the larger family of viruses called Coronavirus.1 These diseases range from mild illnesses such as the common cold to severe illness such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).1,2 While coronaviruses can affect both animals and humans, human coronaviruses specifically are known to cause respiratory infections.2
Symptoms of COVID-19
COVID-19 symptoms may range from little-to-no symptoms to severe illness and death. Most symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually 2 to 14 days after exposure.
Reported cases of COVID-19 show that symptoms may range from little-to-no symptoms to severe illness and death.3 Most symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually 2 to 14 days after exposure.1,3
The most common symptoms include:1
- Dry cough
Other symptoms include:1,2
- Aches and pains
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Urgent symptoms requiring immediate medical attention include:3
- Blue-tinted lips or face
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
This list is not all inclusive. Please consult with your health care provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Diagnosis of COVID-19
Coronavirus infections are diagnosed by a health care provider based on symptoms and are confirmed through a laboratory test.2 The test is usually done by taking a nasal swab or a throat swab.4,5
Treatment of COVID-19
There are currently no medications, therapies or vaccine that can prevent or cure COVID-19.1 Most people with mild illness will recover without treatment.2 However, your health care provider may recommend some available medications or therapies to help provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19.1,2 Vaccine and drug treatments for COVID-19 are currently being developed and tested.
- World Health Organization. Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19). https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses. Updated March 9, 2020. Accessed March 16, 2020.
- Government of Canada. Coronavirus disease (COVID-10): Symptoms and Treatment. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/symptoms.html. Updated March 10, 2020. Accessed March 16, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html. Updated March 14, 2020. Accessed March 16, 2020.
- World Health Organization. Laboratory testing for 2019 Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in suspected human cases: Interim guidance. https://www.who.int/publications-detail/laboratory-testing-for-2019-novel-coronavirus-in-suspected-human-cases-20200117. Updated March 2, 2020. Accessed March 16, 2020.
- Ontario Public Health. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing. https://www.publichealthontario.ca/fr/laboratory-services/test-information-index/wuhan-novel-coronavirus. Updated March 13, 2020. Accessed March17, 2020.