Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment

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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 COVID-19. This is the longest known incubation period for this disease. We are currently investigating if the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. While experts believe that it is possible, it is considered less common.

Symptoms have included:

In severe cases, infection can lead to death.

Think you might have COVID-19?
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If you or your child become ill

If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, reduce your contact with others:

Children who have mild COVID-19 symptoms are able to stay at home with a caregiver throughout their recovery without needing hospitalization. If you are caring for a child who has suspected or probable COVID-19, it is important to follow the advice for caregivers. This advice will help you protect yourself, others in your home, as well as others in the community.

If you become sick while travelling back to Canada:

Check if you have been exposed

Have you been on a recent flight, cruise, train, or at a public gathering? Check the listed exposure locations to see if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Take care of your mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic is new and unexpected. This situation can be unsettling and can cause a sense of loss of control. It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or worried in a crisis. Make sure to care for your mental and physical wellbeing and to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.

Diagnosing coronavirus

Coronavirus infections are diagnosed by a health care provider based on symptoms and are confirmed through laboratory tests.

Treating coronavirus

Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should self-monitor and consult your health care provider. They may recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms.

Vaccine

If you have received a flu vaccine, it will not protect against coronaviruses.

At this time, a vaccine or therapy to treat or prevent this disease has not yet been developed. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a global review of therapies that may be used to treat or prevent the disease.

Health Canada is fast tracking the importation and sale of medical devices used to diagnose, treat or prevent COVID-19.

About 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:

  1. severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS CoV)
  2. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS CoV)
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