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Coronavirus is a contagious disease caused by a severe acute respiratory syndrome called SARS-CoV-2. The first case of coronavirus was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease has since spread worldwide. Coronavirus is transmitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.
The incubation period for Coronavirus is 14 days, with a median time of 4-5 days of exposure. Those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days. Most symptomatic people with the disease who have symptoms will do so notice them within two to seven days of infection. 97.5% of people with COVID-19 who have symptoms will do so within 11.5 days of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Symptoms in Adults
Symptoms appear one to fourteen days after exposure to COVID-19. They include fever, cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and loss of smell and taste.
While eighty-five percent of people develop mild to moderate symptoms, fourteen percent develop severe symptoms such as dyspnea and hypoxia. Five percent of people who are infected often develop critical symptoms such as respiratory failure, shock, and multiorgan dysfunction.
At least a third of infected people remain asymptomatic while asymptomatic people do not develop noticeable symptoms. However, they still can spread the disease. Some people continue to experience a range of effects for months after recovery.
Symptoms in Children and Teens
Children can also be infected with COVID-19 and can spread the virus to others. Asymptomatic children can also spread the virus to others.
While most children with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, many will have no symptoms at all. However, some children can get severely ill from COVID-19. Some children require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe. In rare cases, they might die. Also, babies under the age of 1-year-old and children with certain underlying conditions may be more likely to experience a severe illness from COVID-19.
Regardless of age, children with the following underlying medical conditions might also be at increased risk of severe illness:
- chronic lung disease
- Genetic, neurologic, or metabolic conditions
- Sickle cell disease
- Heart disease since birth
- Weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions
- Children with multiple chronic conditions that affect many parts of the body
- Children who are dependent on technology and other significant supports systems
Symptoms of COVID-19 in children are very similar to those of adults. In children, symptoms can resemble symptoms of common illnesses such as colds, strep throat, and allergies.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children are fever and cough. However, children may have any of these signs or symptoms of COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle or body aches
- Poor appetite or poor feeding, especially in babies under 1-year-old