Q: What is Coronavirus?
A: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans.
Q: What are the symptoms of COVD-19?
A: Those who are infected with COVID-19 may not show symptoms or may only have mild symptoms that can be similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms of COVID-19 may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. Symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches and tiredness;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Pneumonia in both lungs;
- Less commonly: sore throat, headache and diarrhea have been reported.
Q: What precautions are there to prevent getting COVID-19?
A: Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Prevention measures include:
- Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (greater than 60% alcohol);
- 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.
Q: Is wearing a mask effective?
A: The use of a mask is not recommended for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in healthy individuals. There is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, a health care provider may ask you to wear a mask. For this type of encounter, masks are part of the hospital’s infection prevention and control measures.
Please visit Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Health Advice site for comprehensive information on:
- How to Protect Yourself;
- Social Distancing;
- Diagnosis and Assessment Centres;
- How COVID-19 Spreads.