As we continue to navigate COVID-19, you can count on OSF HealthCare to keep you informed and guide you to safe, compassionate care when you and your family need it.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus discovered in 2019. The virus spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets and small particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Illness can range from mild to severe, though not everyone infected with the virus develops symptoms.
COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe and appear 2–14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include:
If you have severe symptoms, like trouble breathing, seek emergency care immediately. Unsure if the symptoms you’re experiencing are COVID-19? You can get direction on what to do by chatting with an OSF nurse.
The virus spreads quickly in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings. Understanding how COVID-19 spreads and the factors that can increase or decrease your risk – such as how long you are exposed to someone with the virus – can help you make informed choices.
Those at higher risk for severe illness that could result in hospitalization or death include:
In addition to basic health and hygiene practices, like handwashing and wearing a mask when transmission levels are high in your community, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following COVID-19 prevention measures:
To diagnose whether you have COVID-19, you’ll need to be tested. When you test, however, depends on when you were exposed or when you begin experiencing symptoms.
Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home using over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. If you have tested positive or have developed symptoms:
People at higher risk of severe illness should be tested if they suspect they might be infected and should seek treatment immediately if they test positive. There are antiviral medications that your health care provider can prescribe to prevent severe illness resulting in hospitalization or death.