COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease.
Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
Community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring in parts of the United States. In the coming months, most of the U.S. population will be exposed to this virus. You should continue to practice all the protective measures recommended to keep yourself and others from getting infected.
People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).
There is currently no specific treatment for or vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
When to seek medical attention?
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency signs include:
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting sick.
How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering
Cloth face coverings should
CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?
How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?
How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?
There are laboratory tests that can identify the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens. State and local public health departments have received tests from CDC, whereas medical providers are getting tests developed by commercial manufacturers.
How to decide if you should be tested or seek care
Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Here is some information that might help you make decisions about seeking medical care or testing.
Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. They may not need to be tested. There is no treatment specifically approved for people who have COVID-19.
If you think you may be sick, stay home and consult with your healthcare provider on the need for testing. CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians. Clinicians should work with their state and local health departments to coordinate testing through public health laboratories, or work with clinical or commercial laboratories.
CDC has provided guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians. COVID-19 testing differs by location. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your medical provider first. While supplies of these tests are increasing, it may still be difficult to find a place to get tested.
What to do after you are tested
If you test negative for COVID-19, you probably were not infected at the time your specimen was collected. However, that does not mean you will not get sick. It is possible that you were very early in your infection when your specimen was collected and that you could test positive later. Or you could be exposed later and then develop illness. In other words, a negative test result does not rule out getting sick later.