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Since the coronavirus outbreak, researchers and scientists are trying to figure out the incubation period of coronavirus aka COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is a new type of coronavirus that has been discovered in a live animal market in Wuhan, China.
Just like any other virus, the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 can differ from person to person. In this article, we will talk about the incubation period of COVID-19 and what to do if you think you have this disease.
How Does Coronavirus Spread?
People can get infected from others who have the virus, especially when the infected person coughs or sneezes. When the infected person coughs or sneezes, tiny droplets of water come out from the nose or mouth which might spread in the air and land on objects and surfaces around the person.
Touching these objects or surfaces and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes will allow the virus to enter your body. Also, the virus can spread when you come in close contact with the infected person. The World Health Organization recommends staying more than one meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
What Are The Symptoms Of Coronavirus?
The symptoms of COVID-19 develop slowly, which include fever, cough, fatigue, difficulty in breathing, chest congestion, runny nose, sneezing and sore throat.
What Is The Incubation Period Of Coronavirus?
An incubation period refers to the time between contracting the virus and appearing of the symptoms. For the novel coronavirus, the incubation period is between 2 to 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to a study report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 181 people with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside Hubei province in China were analysed to estimate the incubation period of COVID-19. 97.5 per cent of those developed symptoms within 11.5 days of exposure. The average incubation period was estimated to be 5.1 days .
Another study published in February 2020 showed the average incubation period to be 6.4 days, ranging from 2.1 to 11.1 days .
The CDC, WHO and other public health authorities around the globe have been using a 14-day incubation period for individuals who are at a higher risk after travelling to infected areas.
Usually, the symptoms of COVID-19 appear to be mild at first and gradually start worsening over a few days. Older adults and people with low immunity are at an increased risk of developing more severe symptoms.
How To Protect Yourself From Coronavirus?
The WHO recommends the following precautionary measures:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Maintain at least one-metre distance between yourself and a person who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing and dispose of the tissue properly.
- Stay at home if you feel unwell.
- Seek doctor's help immediately if you have fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces in your home
Most people who have contracted the coronavirus have started noticing symptoms within 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. On an average, it takes about 5 days for the symptoms to start appearing, but this may change as further studies are conducted by researchers.
For how long will I be contagious after I'm infected with the novel coronavirus?
The incubation period of the virus is 14 days; however, infected individuals may be contagious for several days before they become symptomatic. They are most contagious in the early stages of illness, when they start experiencing symptoms.
How long will it take for me to feel better if I get coronavirus?
It depends on how sick you are and usually people with mild cases recover within one to two weeks. In severe cases, the recovery period can take six weeks or more.
Is there a vaccine or drug for treating coronavirus?
Till date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral drugs to prevent or treat coronavirus. Scientists are still studying to develop vaccines to prevent or treat the disease.