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How Long is the Incubation Period for the Covid-19 Virus

Jan 20, 2021

COVID - 19

How Long is the Incubation Period for the Covid-19 Virus

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the recently discovered coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. It affects different people in different ways. Some people who get infected will develop mild to moderate illnesses and recover without requiring any medical treatment. Older people, who may already be suffering from serious medical issues like diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, etc., are more likely to develop severe illness.

How does it spread?

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus responsible for spreading COVID-19. It spreads between people when an infected individual is in close contact with another person. When the infected individual coughs, sneezes or even speaks, droplets are generated and cause the virus to spread. These liquid particles can be of different sizes, ranging from larger ‘respiratory droplets’ to smaller ‘aerosols’. One can also become infected by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth without properly washing the hands. 

According to health experts, people infected with the virus are most contagious when they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. It is also believed that even if they are not displaying any symptoms, persons infected with the coronavirus can spread it.

Such aerosol transmissions can occur in specific settings, particularly in crowded and inadequately ventilated areas where people gather in large numbers of crowds. Scientific studies are ongoing to better understand the conditions in which aerosol transmissions are occurring and understand their significance for the transmission of COVID-19. 

What is the incubation period for COVID-19?

An incubation period is a time between when a person contracts a virus and when the symptoms start.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the current incubation period for the coronavirus is between 2 to 14 days after exposure. Over 97% of people who contract SARS-CoV-2 show symptoms within 11 days of exposure. It appears that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has an average incubation period of about 5 days. However, such estimations may change as one learns more about the virus.

Most common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Dry cough 
  • Shortness of breath

Less common symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Acute and rare neurological problems like strokes, delirium, brain inflammation, and nerve damage.

Serious symptoms:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Loss of speech or movement
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion

What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms? 

If you believe you have symptoms indicating a COVID-19 infection, get immediate medical help and stay at home. Inform your doctor about your symptoms, travel history, whether you have been to a crowded area or if you have interacted with anyone infected with COVID-19. If you have severe symptoms, are an older adult, have any existing health conditions, or have been exposed to people infected with the virus, you may be evaluated.

How to prevent it?

The CDC recommends that all people wear face masks in crowded or public areas where it is difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance from others around them. This will slow the spread of the virus from people who do not know that they have contracted the virus.

People should avoid touching contaminated surfaces. If they do, they should not touch their nose, eyes, or mouth without cleaning their hands.

One should also wash their hands often with soap or clean those with alcohol-based hand rub, especially after using places like elevators, ATMs, shopping carts, etc. 

Additionally, disinfect frequently used surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, stair rails, etc., in your home regularly. Avoid sharing any personal items with others, e.g., toothbrushes, utensils, etc. 

If one feels unwell, stay home. However, if the condition worsens, seek medical help immediately.

COVID-19 testing is available at 8-2-8 Urgent Care clinic in Oceanside, CA.  We are a walk-in clinic open from 8 am to 8 pm every day. For more information, please visit our website.

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