Prevention, Symptoms, Treatment and Transmission
For information on ways you can protect yourself, your family and friends, and your community, here is some guidance and considerations.
How can people protect themselves?
There are steps people can take to reduce their risk of getting any viral respiratory infections. These include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid close contact with others
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces – EPA list of disinfectants
It is also important for people to stay at home away from others if they are sick.
Should I wear a face covering?
If you need to leave your home or place of residence and go to a public setting where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), wearing a cloth face covering is recommended, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Homemade cloth face coverings offer some protection and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others when speaking, sneezing, or coughing. The CDC recommends this as increasing evidence indicates that individuals in close proximity to others may transmit the virus that causes COVID-19 without having developed symptoms themselves. Face coverings are not a replacement for other measures, such as good hand hygiene, cough/sneeze etiquette, avoiding close contact with others, and obeying social distancing orders. This guide provides information about cloth face coverings, including:
- Why this is being recommended now
- How to make a cloth face covering with items found around the house
- What precautions you should know about
- How an employer should use this guidance
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is the practice of reducing contact between people to slow the spread of infections or disease. According to the Stay at Home Order by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Missourians should are ordered to avoid social gatherings of more than ten (10) people. “Social gatherings” shall mean any planned or spontaneous event or convening that would bring together more than ten (10) people in a single space at the same time.
What is Contact Tracing?
Contact tracing involves the tracing and monitoring of close contacts of infected people, and support the quarantine of contacts and isolation of infected people.
What are the symptoms?
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. DHSS will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.
If you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, call your health care professional.
If you have been notified by public health authorities that you might have been exposed, follow instructions provided by your local health department.
What is the treatment?
There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms, including:
- Take pain and fever medications (caution: do not give aspirin to children)
- Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
- If you are mildly sick, you should drink plenty of liquids, stay home and rest
How is it spread?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- The air by coughing and sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- Rarely, fecal contamination