UPDATE: Health recommendations from officials may have changed since the publication of this post, so please consult the resources below for the most up-to-date information.
The top news item on most people’s minds right now is the coronavirus, properly known as COVID-19. To help promote community health and to keep you informed about important health information, we have compiled a list of reliable and regularly updated resources that answer frequently asked questions about COVID-19:
- World Health Organization
- Center for Disease Control
- Illinois Department of Health (COVID-19 in Illinois)
You can also visit our Healthy Living page for more resources and upcoming Library events related to healthy living.
Coronavirus Facts & Helpful Tips
Here are some answers to common questions (from the World Health Organization):
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2% of people with the disease have died. People with fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Should I wear a mask to protect myself?
People with no respiratory symptoms, such as cough, do not need to wear a medical mask. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of masks for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and for those caring for individuals who have symptoms, such as cough and fever. The use of masks is crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone (at home or in a health care facility). Wearing a medical mask does not prevent you from contracting COVID-19.
How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Follow these tips from the National Institute of Health:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, and keep children home from school when they are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Edmund Balzer is an Adult Services Librarian at Morton Grove Public Library.