COVID-19 | What You Should Know

Signs and Symptoms

Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will develop mild to moderate respiratory symptoms. However, people who are more susceptible to infection may develop more severe disease. The most common symptoms include fever, tiredness, dry cough, and difficulty breathing. Some patients may also have aches and pains, runny nose, nasal congestions, sore throat or diarrhea. The symptoms are very similar to the seasonal flu virus. Symptoms have appeared anywhere from two to 14 days after contact with the virus. If you experience these symptoms, contact a health care provider to determine the cause of your sickness as soon as possible and avoid contact with others. If you live in Illinois and think you may need a COVID-19 test, learn more and find a local testing site here. If you are outside of Illinois, check with your state’s public health department for more information on testing in your area. 

For additional information

COVID-19 Vaccine

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine, if you are able, is the best way to protect yourself and people around you.

To learn more about the vaccine or how you can get one, reach out to your doctor or visit the links below. You can find the free vaccine at many neighborhood locations.  

Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) COVID-19 Vaccine Information

If You Live With Lung Disease

Those who live with lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer, while not more likely to get the COVID-19 virus, are at greater risk of serious illness if infected. It is important for these groups to take special precautions to reduce the risk of infection. Since developments are fast-breaking, continue to follow trusted news sources or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How Can I Avoid Getting Sick and Prevent Spreading the Disease?

There are a number of ways to reduce your risk of infection and prevent further spread. It’s recommended you:

  • If you are able, get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. 
  • Follow CDC guidance on face coverings while in public. Read more.
  • Contact a health care provider and stay home if you have symptoms.

Smoking and COVID-19

As with any lung illness, smoking increases the risk of negative health effects among those infected with COVID-19. People who smoke are more likely to experience serious complications if they become infected. Preliminary research suggests that smokers infected with COVID-19 are nearly 1.5 times more likely to have severe symptoms and 2.5 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU, need mechanical ventilation, or die compared to non-smokers. New research also suggests that current smokers are faced with an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. While research into the effects of smoking on the risk of contracting COVID-19 is limited and will continue as cases increase, experiences with other lung illnesses suggest that smoking will continue to be a significant risk factor for adverse health outcomes among those diagnosed with COVID-19.

Learn More

Lung Health News and Updates

Passionate about lung health? So are we. We are working to build a future free of lung disease. A world without asthma, COPD, or lung cancer. A world with clean air where everyone breathes easier. Sign-up for our RHA e-newsletter for updates about policies we’re promoting, how our programs impact the community, and ways you can get involved. 

Do you live with COPD or care for someone who does? Sign-up for our e-newsletter which contains practical tips for living well, the latest in COPD research and legislative updates that may affect you. You will also receive an annual Inspiration newsletter by mail.