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Have general questions about Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
The NJ Poison Control Center and 211 have partnered with the State to provide information to the public on COVID-19:
Call (24/7): 1-800-962-1253
Text: NJCOVID to 898-211
Visit nj.gov/health for additional information.
Am I likely to become infected with COVID-19?
You can reduce your risk of becoming infected by taking proper prevention measures similar to what is recommended to avoid the common cold and flu. These include washing your hands often, not touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and practicing social distancing to avoid close contact with sick people.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause either mild illness, such as a cold, or can make people sick with pneumonia.
What is a novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. A novel (new) coronavirus called COVID-19 has been detected in over a hundred thousand people worldwide. Cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S., including the State of NJ and it is expected that more cases of COVID-19 will be identified in the future. For the most recent case information, visit the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary webpage.
Many of the initial patients with COVID-19 in China had links to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, cases being reported at this time have been occurring through person-to-person spread. The virus is thought to spread mainly:
• Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
• Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
The most common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. While most people with COVID-19 are likely to experience mild to moderate disease with full recovery, in more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Older adults and those living with serious chronic medicals condition are most at risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19 infection.
What should I do if I (or someone I know) traveled to an area where COVID-19 is spreading?
Anyone who has traveled to a CDC Level 3 destination (one that is experiencing widespread sustained transmission of COVID-19) should self-quarantine at home for 14 days following their return. For the most recent travel alerts, visit the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel webpage. You should monitor your symptoms and call your health care provider if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing. If you need to go to your doctor’s office or an emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. The same precautions should be taken if you have been in close contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19. You should also avoid contact with others.
If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or you are a resident in a community where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home. Symptoms and Testing (CDC)
Is there a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. There is also no specific treatment for COVID-19 disease at this time. However, most people will recover on their own after resting and drinking plenty of fluids. To relieve symptoms, people with the virus can take pain and fever medication, use a room humidifier or take hot showers to help ease a sore throat and cough.
You should take the same precautions that you would during cold and flu season:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
• Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue (not your hands), then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a cleaning product that contains bleach.
If I can't find disinfecting products at the store, can I make my own?
A solution of bleach and water will be effective against COVID-19. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
• 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
• 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Will wearing a surgical mask protect me from COVID-19?
Surgical masks do not protect the person wearing the mask from infection with COVID-19. Surgical masks should only be worn by people showing symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of disease to others. In addition, N95 respirator masks are not recommended for the general public and should only be worn by health care workers who have been properly fitted for them.
Should I travel during the COVID-19 outbreak?
If you are planning to travel, visit the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel webpage for the latest travel advisories related to COVID-19.