What are coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, but only several types are known to commonly cause infections in people, with these common human coronaviruses usually causing mild to moderate respiratory illness (like the common cold). Newer human coronaviruses, like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and the COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms. The COVID-19 is originally thought to have spread from animals to humans, but now person-to-person spread is occurring.
How is it spread?
It’s not clear yet how easily COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets, including:
- Through the air by coughing and sneezing;
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
This is similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections spread. Until we learn more about how easily the COVID-19 spreads between people, healthcare providers may wear special personal protective equipment (e.g. masks and eye protection) when evaluating a patient if there is concern for infection with the COVID-19.
What are the symptoms?
We are still learning about how the COVID-19 affects people. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Symptoms of people with confirmed COVID-19 infections have primarily included:
- Difficulty breathing
If you develop symptoms of a fever or respiratory illness, contact your health care provider before going to their office or the emergency department. You can also contact the NH Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496, if you have questions or concerns.
How can I protect myself and others?
There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick from viral respiratory infections, and help prevent transmitting infections to others, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
- Stay home from work or school if you have a fever or are not feeling well
Is there a treatment?
There are no specific treatments recommended for infection with the COVID-19. People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms, such as taking pain or fever medications, drinking plenty of fluids, and staying home and resting. Some patients who are very sick may need to go to the hospital to get care.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately.
Where can I go for more information?
COVID - Additional Information
TESTING: The NH Department of Health & Human Services is now coordinating COVID-19 testing appointments at a number of hospitals and other locations around the state (click here for a map and listings). Testing also available at the CVS on Lafayette Road in Hampton and the Rite-Aid on Lafayette Road in Portsmouth.
PLASMA DONATIONS FROM RECOVERED COVID-19 PATIENTS The Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from the new coronavirus to sign up to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as a treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease. To qualify to donate: Individuals must have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, but are now symptom- free and fully recovered from COVID-19. Individuals must be at least 17 years old and weigh 110 lbs. Additional weight requirements apply for donors age 18 or younger. Donors must be in good health - generally feeling well, even if they have a chronic condition. For additional information, visit the Red Cross Website.
NOTE FROM DPW: Dispose of disinfectant wipes in a separate trash bag. Do NOT flush in the toilet (not even those marked "flushable"). Pipes from homes are considerably narrower than City sewer pipes and clog first.
Additional domestic and sexual violence resources include:
Local Coalition domestic and sexual violence member programs: https://www.nhcadsv.org/member-programs.html
Resources specific to New Hampshire survivors during the COVID-19 crisis: https://www.nhcadsv.org/coronavirus.html
Coalition website: https://www.nhcadsv.org/
CONFIDENTIAL STATEWIDE HELPLINES
24-hour Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-866-644-3574
24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-277-5570
Visit your local program to learn more.