Important Things to Know about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) 

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What is a coronavirus? What is COVID-19? 

A picture of a coronavirus taken with a microscope. A coronavirus is a type of germ. You can only see germs with a microscope, and they can make you sick.  There are many kinds of coronavirus. COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus. It stands for coronavirus disease 2019. Many people call COVID-19 “the coronavirus.” COVID-19 has made people all over the world very sick. COVID-19 can be much worse than colds or the flu. 

How do people get COVID-19? 

COVID-19 spreads from person to person, like a cold or the flu. Coughing and sneezing can put germs in the air. When you breathe in those germs, you can get sick. You can also get COVID-19 by touching someone who has it. For example, if you shake hands with somebody who has COVID-19, the germs will go from their hands to yours. 

How can I stay safe? A person washing their hands in a sink.

  • Don’t sit, stand, or lie too close to other people. Only go out if you really have to. This is called “social distancing.” The best way to do this is to stay home. You can go to the doctor, the grocery store, or the pharmacy. But don’t go to restaurants, bars, parties, or the movies. If there are a lot of people in a space, it is easier for germs to spread. Try to stand six feet apart from people you don’t live with. 
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Wearing a mask will keep other people from breathing in germs. 
  • Wash your hands before you eat, when you go to the bathroom, and after you sneeze or blow your nose. Make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. 
  • It is easier to get sick if you’re in a space with a lot of people. Buses and trains have a lot of people on them. Stores have a lot of people in them. So do beaches and other public places. Many places are reopening businesses, but you should still be careful. 
  • Cover your nose when you sneeze. Use a tissue if you can. After you sneeze, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. 
  • Cover your mouth when you cough. 
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.

What happens to people when they get COVID-19? 

  • Most people who get COVID-19 will have a fever. If your temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees F, you have a fever. 
  • Most people who get COVID-19 will have a cough.
  • Some people will also have a hard time breathing. 
  • Some people can get very sick from COVID-19. They can even die. 

There are some people who may feel worse from COVID-19. Older people are more likely to feel worse. So are people who already have health problems. Some of these health problems include diabetes (high blood sugar), high blood pressure, and asthma (trouble breathing). If you are older or have another health problem, it is especially important to keep yourself safe. Remember that anyone can get and pass COVID-19. Children can get it. So can young and healthy people. Stay safe. 

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19? A person wearing a mask over their nose and mouth.

  • If you are having trouble breathing and have a fever, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will talk to you about how you are feeling. Your doctor can find ways to help you. 
  • You may be able to get tested if you have been around other people who have COVID-19 or have symptoms. Symptoms are what you feel when you get sick, like fever, coughing, or throwing up. 
  • Stay away from other people as much as you can. This is very important! If you aren’t around other people very much, it’s harder for them to catch COVID-19. If you are sick and spend a lot of time with other people, they could get sick, too. They could die. 
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Get as much sleep as you can. 
  • Stay home! It is important not to spread your germs. 
  • Take painkillers like Tylenol.
  • Your doctor may tell you to quarantine yourself. When you quarantine yourself, you stay inside and away from other people. Quarantining keeps other people from getting sick. This is because they can’t pick up your germs. 
  • Take cough and cold medicine. 

Important Words to Know

Asthma is a sickness that makes it harder to breathe. 

A coronavirus is a kind of germ. Some people also refer to COVID-19 as “the coronavirus.” 

COVID-19 is the name for a kind of coronavirus. It is a new sickness that is spreading all over the world. 

Diabetes is a sickness that makes your blood sugar very high. When your blood sugar is very high, it is harder to get better when you are sick. 

Germs are very small things that can make people and animals sick. Bacteria and viruses (like coronaviruses) are kinds of germs. 

Social distancing is when you stay away from people to keep from getting sick. Some ways of social distancing include standing far away from other people, staying home, and going out only when you have to. Being far from other people makes it harder for germs to spread. 

Quarantine is staying inside when you are sick. When you’re in quarantine, you don’t go out at all. This can keep other people from getting sick. 


Administration for Community Living: 

Centers for Disease Control: 

(This page was last edited on May 26, 2020.)