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Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2, is an especially contagious and severe respiratory disease, which was not previously seen in humans. While most people experience mild or moderate symptoms, it can cause a serious reaction in certain populations. For some, it can result in hospitalization and even death.
Coronavirus refers to a family of viruses that were named based on their crown-like shape under a microscope (“corona” means “crown” in Latin).
While some people are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others, such as those over 65 or with a pre-existing condition, even previously healthy individuals may suffer a severe reaction.
The first documented case of COVID-19 was in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019.
Originally, it was reported that people developed viral pneumonia after visiting a seafood market there. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there was an office worker who contracted the disease in Wuhan, yet had no previous travel history and no link to the seafood market.
This in mind, the investigation into the origins of the disease remains ongoing.
We now know that COVID-19 is spread through aerosol droplets from an infected person, so coronavirus prevention is a critical way to contain the virus and save lives.
Some ways to protect yourself and others include:
Coronavirus testing can provide valuable information to help you and your loved ones stay healthy.
Currently, there are 3 different types of COVID-19 tests:
1. Antigen Test
This is the fastest test with a simple swab in the mouth or nose. It yields quick results, so it is often used to test large groups of people, such as at airports. The antigen test is very accurate, and false positives are rare. However, false negatives are more common.
2. PCR Test
The PCR test is the most sensitive for detecting an active infection. It collects mucus from the nose or throat using a swab. Nasopharyngeal swabs that go deep into the nose are considered the most accurate of all. PCR results can take anywhere from minutes to days, depending on whether it can be tested on-site or if it has to be sent to a lab.
3. Antibody Test
An antibody test looks for proteins in your blood that fight off the virus. And this type of test can indicate if you’ve already had COVID-19. It is not recommended to take the test within the first 14 days of symptoms because the immune system may not have produced antibodies yet. The test is collected via a finger-prick or blood draw.
There are also several ways you can get COVID-19 testing:
Coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out across the world to help prevent severe reactions to the virus.
As of March 2021, there are three coronavirus vaccines available to guard against the Coronavirus:
Note: The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines require two doses, while the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine only requires one.
Your eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine depends on your state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan and prioritization:
COVID-19 vaccines may also be available at local pharmacies across the country, including:
Medicare covers many COVID-19 services and tests, including:
Be sure to also visit our Guide To Medicare Vaccine Coverage to learn more about how Medicare covers the coronavirus vaccine.
Telemedicine has become a convenient virtual method to get care from a doctor online versus visiting a doctor in person.
In the wake of COVID-19, medical providers have used telemedicine as a critical tool to help contain the virus. Medical professionals can evaluate, diagnose and treat patients without the transmission risk of in-person visits using technology such as secure messaging portals, video, and cell phones.
Telemedicine visits can provide the same level of service as an in-person visit. They can also cost significantly less.
Visit AHIP's coronavirus resource hub, which breaks down COVID-19 insurance coverage by insurance carrier.
Coronavirus refers to a whole family of viruses, including those related to the common cold. However, the newest form of coronavirus, COVID-19, is a more contagious and severe form of the virus.
Coronavirus symptoms can vary widely, depending on the individual, but the most common COVID-19 symptoms are:
In some rare cases, COVID-19 can cause severe respiratory problems, kidney failure, and even death. Emergency warning signs include:
And if you experience any of these coronavirus symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Coronavirus symptoms will emerge within 14 days of exposure. But keep in mind that some individuals experience no symptoms at all.
If you’ve been exposed to the virus, you should still stay at home and get tested even if you show no signs of infection.
Coronavirus symptoms can last anywhere from days to weeks, depending on the severity of the case. However, scientists and doctors have identified many people as post-COVID “long-haul” sufferers.
While these people may no longer suffer from acute coronavirus symptoms, such as fever or headaches, and may even test negative for the virus, they still suffer from symptoms of the virus.
Common coronavirus symptoms include:
If you’re still experiencing coronavirus symptoms after a few weeks, contact your doctor.
The length of being contagious depends on the severity of the COVID-19 infection and your general health. You can generally stop self-isolation 10 days after the onset of coronavirus symptoms if you have no fever for at least 24 hours and see a reduction in symptoms.
However, those with a severe illness or who are severely immunocompromised may take up to 20 days to no longer be contagious.
COVID-19 reinfection is extremely rare. Research is still ongoing to understand how long individuals are protected.
There are several options to get COVID-19 testing:
There are 3 types of COVID-19 tests available:
Simple measures can be taken to stay safe and promote healing:
However, if your coronavirus symptoms are severe or concerning, contact your medical provider or call 911.
Tips for coronavirus prevention include:
Note: The above information does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with a medical professional regarding your health needs. If you’re experiencing a health emergency, contact your local emergency health services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care.
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