What Nurses Need to Know about the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
We have all been hearing about the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China for a few weeks and like most Americans were probably not too worried until it was shown to be able to spread by person to person contact. As of today, there are 5 known cases in the United States with over 2700 cases and 81 deaths in China alone. Since December the virus has spread to France, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.
How it Spreads
It is not fully known how coronaviruses are spread or if there will be a sustained person to person spread. Currently, China is reporting sustained person to person spread. In the U.S. there are no reports of sustained person to person spread, but if it does occur then it would be possible to see such cases in hospitals and clinics.
How easily a disease spread is of equal importance. For example, measles is highly contagious and spreads easily. CDC list the immediate risk for the coronavirus as low.
Symptoms may appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure. The most common symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
Prevention and Treatment
The prevention recommendations at this time are the same as they would be for the flu or other respiratory illness.
- Wash your hands often.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if you haven’t washed your hands.
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your cough.
- Clean surfaces and things you touch often.
Treatment is supportive. There is no specific antiviral treatment at this time.