Know the facts about coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.
Symptoms of human coronaviruses may be very mild or more serious, such as:
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.
Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands
These viruses are not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.
The best way to prevent the spread of infections is to:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands;
- avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- cough and sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands; and
- stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.
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