Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment
On this page
- Symptoms of COVID-19
- If you become ill
- Diagnosing coronavirus
- Treating coronavirus
- About coronaviruses
Symptoms of COVID-19
Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu.
Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus. This is the longest known infectious period for this virus.
Symptoms have included:
- difficulty breathing
- pneumonia in both lungs
In severe cases, infection can lead to death.
If you become ill
If you develop symptoms and have travelled to the province of Hubei in China or have been in contact with someone who has:
- stay at home and avoid contact with others
- follow up with your health care professional
If you develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing in the next 14 days, call your health care provider or local public health authority. Tell them your symptoms and that you were travelling in the province of Hubei, China. Let them know whether you have had direct contact with animals or a sick person, especially if they have had symptoms.
If you are ill and must visit a health care professional, call ahead or tell them when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness. You may be asked to wear a mask while waiting for or receiving treatment to prevent the spread of the illness.
If you feel sick during travel to Canada or upon arrival, inform the flight attendant, cruise staff or a Canadian border services officer. They will decide whether you need further medical assessment by a quarantine officer.
Coronavirus infections are diagnosed by a health care provider based on symptoms and are confirmed through laboratory tests.
For now, there is no specific treatments for most people with coronavirus infection. Most people with common coronavirus illness will recover on their own. At this time, there is no vaccine for coronavirus. Your health care provider may recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms.
Consult your health care provider as soon as possible if:
- you are concerned about your symptoms or
- you have a travel history to a region where severe coronaviruses are known to occur
The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances are for recovery.
Flu vaccine will not protect you
While coronaviruses are a respiratory illness, these infections are not the same as those that cause the flu. If you have received a flu vaccine, it will not protect against coronaviruses.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.
COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and more rarely, these can then spread from person to person through close contact.
There have been 2 other specific coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans and which have caused severe illness in humans. These are the:
- severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS CoV)
- Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS CoV)
- Awareness resources (airport handouts and posters)
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