Since December 2019, the news has been saturated with reports surrounding the novel coronavirus, a virus that was first detected in Wuhan City, China. It has caused widespread panic around the world, leading to quarantine, closed down cities, canceled trips, and other measures to prevent the virus from spreading.
Since the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak (2019-nCoV), the Florida Department of Health has been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to keep the public updated appropriately and monitor the situation.
As of early February 2020, there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida. However, as one of the leading providers of urgent care in central Florida, Restore Health Urgent Care is committed to keeping the public informed and educated about staying healthy. This includes sharing information on identifying the signs and symptoms of coronavirus and other questions you may have about the virus.
Coronavirus Signs and Symptoms
When patients have had confirmed cases of 2019-nCov, they have reported mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including:
• Runny nose
• Sore throat
• Trouble breathing
The Center for Disease Control has also shared that symptoms may appear as soon as two days after exposure or up to 14 days after.
Some people with a coronavirus may have only mild symptoms, while others may experience more serious illnesses as a result, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
How does Coronavirus Infection spread?
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they can spread from animals to humans. However, not all coronaviruses that animals carry have been seen in humans. The 2019-nCoV has the prefix “novel” because it has not previously been found in humans. The animal source of the 2019-nCoV has yet to be identified, but the WHO states that “this does not mean you can catch 2019-nCoV from any animal or from your pet.”
2019-nCoV can from person to person contact, although the ease of transmission is not yet defined.
To prevent the spread of coronaviruses, the World Health Organization encourages the public to:
• Cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing
• Regularly washing your hands with soap and water
• Staying home if you’re sick
• Avoiding close contact with those who are sick
• Thoroughly cooking meat and eggs
• Avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces they touch when visiting live animal markets
• Do not consume raw or undercooked animal products
What is a Coronavirus?
This large family of viruses is found in humans and animals, and some infect only animals while others are found in both humans and animals. While 2019-nCoV is from the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), it isn’t the same virus.
Another virus you might hear a lot about is known as Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. We’ve shared some useful tips for recognizing the signs and symptoms of HFMD in children here.
How is the 2019-nCoV diagnosed?
Coronaviruses are diagnosed by healthcare professionals based on signs and symptoms, as well as lab tests. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we discussed, your travel history is an important piece of information to disclose to your healthcare provider.
The Florida Department of Health shares:
“If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel or close contact. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel or close contact. Your healthcare provider will work with the Florida Department of Health and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for 2019-nCoV.”
They also share that diagnostic testing can currently only be done at CDC. If you’re suspected of having 2019-nCoV, you will be deemed a PUI (person under investigation), and your state or local health departments should immediately notify CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to report a PUI and determine whether testing for 2019-nCoV at CDC is indicated. Then, the EOC will assist local/state health departments to collect, store, and ship specimens appropriately to CDC.
Who is at risk?
Much more needs to be learned about coronaviruses to get more specific information about how the virus is spread, the virus itself, and who is most at risk. Currently, those with preexisting medical conditions (including diabetes or heart disease) or of advanced age appear to be at a higher risk of developing a serious illness as the result of 2019-nCoV.
When to get help
If you suspect you have a coronavirus infection, what should you do?
First, you’re advised to contact your healthcare provider via phone and inform them that you suspect you might have 2019-nCov before coming in. This allows them to take the necessary precautions to avoid exposing other people. When you do see your doctor, be sure to include not only your signs and symptoms but also your travel history with them.
Wearing a surgical mask when you’re in close contact with other people is also advised if you suspect you may have 2019-nCoV. This can help reduce droplets coughed or sneezed into the air, which is why it’s also important to cover your nose or mouth with your arm when necessary.
While there is no specific medicine or vaccine to treat human coronaviruses, certain steps can be taken to alleviate symptoms. In some cases, closer monitoring may be required.
It’s also important to remember that 2019-nCoV, as much as we’re hearing about it, is still rare. The likelihood that you’re experiencing the signs and symptoms of 2019-nCoV as opposed to, for example, the common cold, is very low.
Urgent care in Palm Bay, Florida
That being said, if you believe you’ve been exposed to the novel coronavirus in Palm Bay, Florida, call Restore Health Urgent Care or your nearest hospital immediately. It’s important to disclose that you think you might have this virus, as well as any recent travel history, or if you’ve been in contact with someone who is infected.
Restore Health can provide fast and affordable medical care 7 days a week. Our medical team can quickly treat a variety of minor injuries and illnesses, no appointment necessary. We also offer digital imaging and x-rays onsite. For non-life-threatening conditions, Restore Health Urgent Care in Palm Bay is an affordable alternative to the ER.
For more information on the services we offer, click here. Remember, it’s essential to call your urgent care center or hospital ahead of your visit to inform them if you think you’ve been infected with a coronavirus. To contact us ahead of your visit, please call (321) 312-4580.