Suffering from a sore throat, cough or just feeling run down? With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, you might be wondering if it’s a cold, allergies or something more serious. You can learn more about COVID-19, monitor your symptoms and protect yourself and others with a few simple guidelines.
What is it? COVID-19, or coronavirus disease of 2019, presents itself as a mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
How can I catch it? Current understanding is that COVID-19 spreads mostly from person to person through respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. Typically, people within 6 feet of someone with an illness are at highest risk. Additionally, after coughing or sneezing, these droplets may be present on doorknobs, counters, and other surfaces. Frequent cleaning of surfaces and household items can reduce this route of viral spread.
How long does it take to develop symptoms? COVID-19 usually takes effect 2-14 days after exposure.
What is it? Most of us have experienced cold or allergy symptoms include sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, coughing, watery eyes and sore throat which is often caused by mucus dripping down your throat, also known as postnasal drip. You may also run a fever, but this is less common with a cold.
How can I catch it? Bacteria and viruses that cause strep and cold/flu symptoms, respectively, can spread from infected people to others through the air, close personal contact or through touching a contaminated surface.
How long does it take to develop symptoms? These infections generally take 2-4 days before you experience symptoms.
What is it? The flu is caused by one of several influenza viruses that typically result in fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny, or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.
How can I catch it? People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can be easily inhaled through the nose or mouth of people who are nearby. Similar to COVID-19, these droplets may be present on doorknobs, counters, and other surfaces after a person coughs or sneezes. Frequent cleaning of surfaces and household items can reduce this route of viral spread.
How long does it take to develop symptoms? The flu virus has an abrupt onset with symptoms beginning about two days after the virus enters the body.
How to protect yourself and others
from COVID-19 and the Flu
• Get your annual flu vaccine; even late in the flu season, it offers the best protection.
• There is no vaccine for COVID-19 currently.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue then throw the tissue into the trash.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, frequently.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects in your home and workplace.
• You can learn more about COVID-19 at ochsner.org/coronavirus.
If you have symptoms, call the Ochsner Covid-19 Line (844-888-2772) or have a video visit from home using Ochsner Anywhere Care.