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. While there are now vaccines to protect against COVID-19, supplies are currently limited and not widely available. 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

While there are now vaccines to protect against COVID-19, supplies are limited and not widely available.

Currently, healthcare providers and people living in long-term care facilities are prioritized to receive the vaccine. As more becomes available, people in Illinois 65 and older and essential workers (like teachers, grocery and transit workers) will receive the next doses. 

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:

  • Follow guidance from your local government and public health officials for social distancing. Stay inside as much as possible. For more visit the CDC website
  • Follow CDC guidance on face coverings while in public. Read more.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, several times a day.
  • Do not share household items such as hand towels and dishes.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer which kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Contact a health care provider and stay home if you have symptoms.

What to Do If You or Someone in Your Home Gets Sick With COVID-19

  • Make sure the sick person rests at home and drinks lots of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Do not share a bedroom with a sick person. By itself, a bed is a surface where a sick person can spread the coronavirus with just a sneeze or a cough.
  • If possible, have the sick person use their own designated bathroom so no one else in the house is exposed to contaminated surfaces such as faucets, sink counters, toilets and door knobs.
  • Wear disposable gloves when touching the sick person, their environment and used/touched items or surfaces.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms.

Read More About Preventing the Spread in Your Home

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.

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Lung Health News and Updates

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