On December 31, 2019, cases of undiagnosed viral pneumonia were first reported by health authorities in Wuhan, China. The cause has now been confirmed as a new coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, which has not previously been identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that circulate in animals including humans and may cause illness in them. Human coronaviruses are common and can range from mild illnesses such as the common cold, to severe illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV). The risk to residents remains low.
A novel coronavirus causing pneumonia has been detected in Wuhan, China. Symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include:
- difficulty breathing
- pneumonia, kidney failure and death in severe cases
If you or a family member have traveled to Wuhan, China and develop symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus infection, avoid contact with others and follow-up with your health care professional. If you are coming to the COLFHT clinic or the Emergency Department at Health Sciences North, please advise clerical staff prior to your arrival, and put on a surgical mask and sanitize your hands upon entering the medical facility.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Prevention measures include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Stay home when you are ill.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
- If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, and there is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. If symptoms feel worse than a standard cold, see your health care practitioner. They can relieve symptoms by prescribing a pain or fever medication. You should also:
- drink plenty of fluids
- get rest and sleep as much as possible
- try a humidifier or a hot shower to help with a sore throat or cough
[SOURCE: Toronto Public Health]
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