Symptoms of COVID-19 and how the virus spreads

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What is the coronavirus and COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. Buy Cannabis Oil Online Australia

The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, was a new strain of coronavirus that hadn’t been detected in people before.

The virus was initially known as the ‘Novel Coronavirus (nCoV-2019)’, but it’s now officially named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

The infectious disease caused by this virus is called COVID-19. Buy Cannabis Oil Online Australia

What is a COVID-19 variant?

A variant is when a virus mutates slightly, or changes. Variants frequently happen in viruses, but sometimes a variant can make the virus spread more easily, can make symptoms worse (or better) or reduce the effectiveness of treatments and vaccines.

The original COVID-19 virus has had many variants since it was first discovered, with some being labelled by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a ‘variant of concern’. A variant of concern is one that may change how the pandemic behaves, so the WHO pays close attention to it.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 include:

Uncommon symptoms may also occur. These include chest paindiarrhoea and conjunctivitis.

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the COVID-19 Symptom Checker to find out if you need to seek medical help.

How severe is COVID-19?

Four out of 5 people infected with COVID-19 experience mild or moderate symptoms — fever and cough are the most commonly reported symptoms. However, in more severe cases breathing difficulties can develop into pneumonia.

Children may experience milder symptoms than adults.

People at most risk of serious infection include:

  • people 70 years of age or older
  • people who are 65 years or older with chronic medical conditions
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are 50 years or older with a chronic medical condition
  • those with compromised immune systems (such as people with cancer)
  • pregnant women

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms and need to visit your doctor, it is very important that you call before visiting, to describe your symptoms and travel history.

If you have severe difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival about your recent travel history.

Learn more about managing mild to moderate COVID-19 at home.

How is COVID-19 different from the flu (influenza)?

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. The seasonal flu is caused by different types of influenza virus.

Both diseases are infections and can cause respiratory symptoms, such as a sore throat, runny nose and cough, as well as fever.

However, there are some differences:

  • Influenza often includes muscle pains and headache, while these symptoms are less common in COVID-19.
  • So far, severe COVID-19 has mainly affected older age groups and people with chronic illnesses, while severe cases of the flu can sometimes make healthy people, children and pregnant women very sick too.

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread between people through:

  • direct contact such as by touching each other
  • indirect contact such as by touching contaminated objects or surfaces. When people with the virus sneeze, cough or touch surfaces, they may leave infected droplets on these surfaces.
  • close contact through the mouth or nose secretions of infected people.
  • aerosol transmission, where infected droplets stay suspended in the air for long periods of time. This can occur during certain medical procedures, or places where people talk, shout or sing (for example, at restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or workplaces).

RESTRICTIONS — Use the COVID-19 Restriction Checker to find out what you can and can’t do in your state or territory.

How do I avoid catching COVID-19?

Maintaining good hygiene, practising physical distancing and getting vaccinated are the best ways to avoid catching COVID-19.

Make sure you:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • cover your mouth with a tissue or bent elbow when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands immediately after.
  • regularly clean and disinfect surfaces you use often, such as benchtops and door handles
  • avoid contact with people who are unwell with a cold or flu-like symptoms
  • stay home if you are unwell
  • avoid touching your face
  • avoid shaking hands with, kissing or hugging people you don’t live with
  • wear a mask if you are in an area with community transmission, and where physical distancing is not possible, such as on public transport
  • get vaccinated against COVID-19
  • practise physical distancing

Physical distancing helps reduce the risk of a virus being transmitted. You should:

  • stay 1.5 metres away from people you don’t live with
  • avoid crowds and mass gatherings where it is hard to 1.5m away from others
  • avoid gatherings in enclosed spaces
  • avoid visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged-care facilities or hospitals, babies or people with weakened immune systems

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, and others around you, from COVID-19. It helps stop people from becoming very sick or being hospitalised if they catch COVID-19.

VACCINATIONS — Find out how COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, how they work and when you might be eligible.

How soon after exposure to a COVID-19 case do symptoms appear?

The COVID-19 incubation period, which is the time between when a person is exposed to the virus and when their symptoms first appear, ranges from 1 to 14 days. Most people develop symptoms 5 to 6 days after being in contact with a person with COVID-19.

Australia’s national COVID-19 public health guidelines use a 14-day incubation period to inform many public health measures, such as quarantine and isolation.

Can a person transmit COVID-19 to others before symptoms appear?

Infected people can transmit the virus if they have symptoms or not. It appears transmission can take place 1 to 3 days before any symptoms appear.

Using a precautionary approach, people are currently considered infectious from 48 hours before symptoms develop until they meet criteria for release from isolation.

How long can COVID-19 survive on surfaces?

COVID-19 seems to behave like other coronaviruses. This means it can survive on surfaces for a few hours or, under some circumstances, up to several days. This could depend on which type of surface it is, the temperature or level of humidity of the environment.

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Wash your hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

What should I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested — even if your symptoms are mild. If you have severe difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival about your recent travel history and any close contact with an infected person.

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the COVID-19 Symptom Checker to find out if you need to seek medical help.

If the Symptom Checker tells you to, contact your GP and describe your symptoms and any contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19. You can also attend a COVID-19 clinic in your area.

You can also call the Australian Government’s National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. Buy Cannabis Oil Online Australia

How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

Your doctor (GP), or the medical staff at a testing clinic or hospital emergency department may take swabs from the back of your nose and throat, or fluid from your lungs, to diagnose your illness. Swabs and fluid are sent to public health laboratories for testing for COVID-19.

Read more here about seeing a doctor and getting tested.

Who is a ‘suspect case’ of COVID-19?

A ‘suspect case’ is someone who in the past 14 days:

  • has had a fever (37.5 degrees Celsius or greater) or history of fever — such as night sweats and chills; or
  • has had an acute respiratory infection — for example, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat; or
  • has experienced a loss of smell or loss of taste

AND in the past 14 days the person:

  • was in close contact with a confirmed case
  • travelled internationally
  • was a worker who provided a designated COVID-19 quarantine or isolation service
  • was an international air, maritime or border staff member
  • was a healthcare worker with potential COVID-19 patient contact
  • was in an area with community transmission as defined by public health authorities

There are other symptoms of COVID-19, including:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • runny nose
  • acute blocked nose (congestion)
  • diarrhoea
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite

It’s recommended that anyone experiencing symptoms seek medical attention. It’s up to the medical practice or testing clinic to decide whether you need to be tested for COVID-19, based on these criteria

Who is a ‘confirmed case’ of COVID-19?

A ‘confirmed case’ is a person who tests positive for COVID-19. This is a special test that needs to be done at a designated facility.

The Australian Government has developed protocols for what you need to do if you have COVID-19. However, please check the requirements of your state or territory.

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, learn more about managing mild to moderate COVID-19 at home.

Learn more about caring for someone with COVID-19.

Who is a ‘close contact’?

You are a close contact:

  • if you are living with someone who has COVID-19; or
  • if you have spent 4 hours or longer with someone in a home or a health or aged-care setting since they developed COVID-19; or
  • under exceptional circumstances determined by individual states or territories

Who is an ‘other contact’?

If you have had less contact with someone who is a confirmed case during their infectious period, such as contact in a social, shopping, education or workplace setting, the Australian Government classifies you as an ‘other contact’.

Other contacts should monitor for symptoms and take a rapid antigen test (RAT) self-test if symptoms occur. If positive, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test should be used to confirm the RAT result.

What should I do if I’m a close contact of someone who has COVID-19?

If you are a close contact of someone who’s a confirmed case of COVID-19, it’s most likely you will need to quarantine for a period of time.

The Australian Government has developed protocols for what you need to do if you are a close contact. However, you should also check the requirements of your state or territory.

How is COVID-19 treated?

There is no specific cure for COVID-19. However, several medicines have been developed that are proving to be effective treatments for people with the illness.

Confirmed cases will be isolated to help avoid spreading the disease to others.

Early diagnosis and general supportive care are important. Most of the time, symptoms will go away on their own. People who have a serious infection, with complications such as pneumonia, can be cared for in hospital.

How long does a COVID-19 infection last?

The duration of a COVID-19 infection varies from person to person. If you are otherwise healthy, mild symptoms may go away after just a few days. If you have other health problems, such as a lung or heart condition, recovery may take weeks.

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