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Coronavirus Guide

Information for health professionals and the public in the Las Vegas Valley
This page is no longer being updated. Please refer to the Home Page for the latest information.


  • This guide is not to be used as medical advice. It is only for learning about coronavirus.
  • Please talk to your doctor if you feel sick and before you make health decisions.
  • This guide is written at a 6th-grade reading level.
    • You might have trouble understanding some parts of this guide. Please talk to a health professional for help.
  • Websites we link to from the guide might not be accessible.

What is a Coronavirus?

  • A coronavirus is a kind of virus mostly found in animals.
  • It is not common for humans to catch a coronavirus.
  • The coronavirus in the news causes an illness called COVID-19.
    • It started in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
  • There have been other coronavirus illnesses in the past
    • SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
    • MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

You can watch the video below to learn more about COVID-19 and how it spreads. It is only in English at this time.

Where Can I Find Trusted Information?

You can find more information for the public from the following websites and guides.

I Feel Sick: Do I Have COVID-19?

A photo of a mug and tissue box, surrounded by used tissues, on a table.

(Image source: Unsplash, by Kelly Sikkema)

General Symptoms

When humans are infected with a coronavirus, they usually have flu-like symptoms. COVID-19 is usually mild and you may experience the following:

  • A mild cough.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • A runny nose.
  • A sore throat.
  • A headache.
  • A fever.

You might not have symptoms until 2-14 days after you catch the virus.

Who is Most at Risk?

  • Only about 1 in 6 people with COVID-19 become very sick.
  • People most at risk for severe illness are the very old, very young children, and people who are already sick.
    • All reported deaths have been in adults over the age of 40 who also have another illness.
  • People who travel to an area with a known outbreak are at higher risk of becoming sick.
  • People in close contact with others who have been to an outbreak area are at higher risk of becoming sick.
  • People caring for others who are sick with COVID-19 are at higher risk of becoming sick.

What Should I Do If I Feel Sick?

  • Call your primary care doctor as soon as possible if you have a high fever with coughing and think it might be COVID-19.
  • The doctor will ask you about your symptoms. They will ask about when and how you think you got sick.
    • If you, or someone you are close to, have been in an outbreak area be sure to tell the doctor.
  • Your doctor will use the information you give to decide what kind of illness you have and how to treat it.
  • If your doctor thinks you have COVID-19, they might ask you take a blood test.
    • They will ask you to stay in your home and away from other people.
    • If you have a virus, there is no medicine that can cure it.
      • Some medicines can help lower symptoms until you get better.
    • Follow your doctor's instructions for treating your symptoms to get better.
  • You might get tested for bacteria like bronchitis or pneumonia.
    • If you have a bacterial infection you will get a prescription for antibiotics.
    • It is important to finish the medicine even if you feel better before it is gone.

How Can I Stay Healthy?

Watch this video from the World Health Organization for tips on how to stay healthy.

Lower Your Risk of Illness

  • Try to avoid being around sick people. Try to avoid being around others if you are sick.
    • Stay home from work if you are sick or have a fever.
      • If you cannot stay home wear a mask. Wear gloves if you are handing items to people.  Follow the rest of these rules to keep other people safe. 
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds many times throughout the day.
    • Sing “Happy Birthday” twice or the ABC’s slowly.
  • Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in it between washing your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow, tissues, or items of clothing - not your hands.
  • If you are sick, wear a mask when in public to help avoid spreading germs. 
    • Wear a tight-fitting or N95 mask if you are healthy and caring for or living with sick people.

I Don't Understand the News. Should I Be Scared?

What is an epidemic?

An epidemic is when there are more people sick with a disease than you would expect. This happens in a community or region. Flu causes epidemics in most states of the US every year.

What is a pandemic?

The WHO says that a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease. A pandemic does not tell us how serious a disease is. Pandemic only means that it has spread over the world. It is also only used if the disease is a new one. Pandemic is not used for common diseases like flu.

What is Social Distancing?

This is a way to keep people from being too close together. It helps slow down the spread of a virus. Events with crowds like church services and concerts might be called off.

What is Quarantine?

This is when a person stays home and away from other people. The person is not sick but might become ill or might be able to spread a virus. They stay away from other people for 14 days to wait and see if they get sick.

What is Isolation?

This is when a person who is sick is kept separate from other people. This helps prevent the spread of the virus. This is different from quarantine because a person in isolation is sick. A person in quarantine is not sick.

Will I get sick?

The chance of getting sick with the coronavirus in the United States is low. There are three main ways to be at high risk of getting sick:

  • Visiting a known outbreak area in the US or the rest of the world.
  • Being in close contact with someone else who recently visited a known outbreak area.
  • Being in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

​Will I have to go to the hospital if I have COVID-19?

Most cases of COVID-19 have been mild. Most sick people have not gone to the hospital. If you have another disease that makes your COVID-19 sickness very bad, you might need to go to the hospital. You will get help breathing or get treated for another illness that you might have caught. There is no cure for a virus. All treatment while you are sick will be trying to make your symptoms easier to handle.

Will I die if I catch the virus?

Most reported cases of the virus have been mild. This virus spreads more easily than other coronaviruses but it causes fewer deaths. Very old people and people who are already sick have the highest chance of being very sick. There have been no reported deaths of children or babies.

Should I buy a lot of supplies for myself and my home?

Learning about the spread of COVID-19 and its symptoms is good, but you do not have to store a lot of supplies. Buying a lot of supplies like soap and masks will make it harder for people who really need them to have them. Health care workers, people who are already sick, and people caring for the sick need masks the most. You can have two or three weeks extra of your most important medicines, but more than that could cause problems. Your medications could go bad before you use them and it could keep others who need it from having it.

Most people with COVID-19 will recover. If we all do our part to stay healthy, we can save health supplies for the people who need them most.

Will my work, my school, or my event be canceled?

It is up to you to decide if you want to travel or go to events with a lot of other people. If you are worried about work, ask your boss what their plan is. Larger organizations may allow people to work from their homes. The best thing you can do is follow the tips on how to stay healthy to protect yourself and others.

Information for Kids and Parents

A Comic for Kids

Malaka Gharib is from National Public Radio's Morning Edition. She has created a comic zine just for kids. It tells them what they need to know about the coronavirus. Click on the image below or on this link to go to their webpage. You can print out a copy and fold it so you can take it to school and share with your friends.

Information for Parents

Parents can learn more by visiting the KidsHealth website.

Coronavirus Myths & Racism

Fact or Fiction?

Watch this video from experts to learn the truth about the coronavirus.

The following questions and answers can be found online. You can visit the websites listed below to read more.

General Misunderstandings

Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also able to get it?

People of all ages can become sick with COVID-19. Older people and people who already have other health conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease) might have a higher chance of being very ill. People of all ages should take steps to protect themselves, like washing your hands.

An illustrated image answering Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also able to get it?

Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus? 

No, your dog or cat will not be sick with the new virus or spread it to you. It is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after touching pets. This protects you against bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.

An illustrated image answering Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus?

Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

No. Hand dryers cannot kill the new coronavirus. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water to protect yourself. Once your hands are cleaned, dry them by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

An illustrated image answering Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

Can thermal scanners tell if people are sick with the new coronavirus?

Thermal scanners can tell if people have a fever because they are sick with the new coronavirus. Thermal scanners cannot tell if people have the virus if they do not have a fever yet. It takes 2 to 10 days before people who have COVID-19 to get a fever.

Racist Myths

Should I stay away from people who are Asian or Asian-American in case they have the virus?

No. Any person can become sick with COVID-19. You should not be scared of anyone who is Asian or Asian-American. You should not worry about becoming ill with COVID-19 unless you have traveled to an outbreak area or been in close contact with a person who has the virus.

Is it called Wuhan Coronavirus because it started there? Does it only affect people from China or Asian-Americans?

Some people called the new virus the Wuhan Coronavirus when the outbreak started. The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the virus COVID-19. Names of new diseases cannot have people or places in them.

Is it safe to eat Chinese food and drink Corona beer?

It is safe to eat Chinese food and drink Corona beer. Food and drink are not able to give you COVID-19.

Is it safe to get a letter or a package from China?

Yes, it is safe. People who get packages from China are not at risk of getting sick. Earlier studies show that this type of virus does not live long outside of the body.

An illustrated image answering Is it safe to get a letter or a package from China?

Page Author

Health Literacy and Community Engagement Librarian
UNLV Health Sciences Library

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