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What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.
COVID-19 affects people of all ages and while most people will have mild symptoms, COVID-19 can also cause some people to get much sicker. In a small number of people, it can lead to death.
The best way to protect your family against COVID-19 is to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines. The following safety measures are also helpful in preventing spread of the virus:
Vaccines and antibodies
Help is available
Vaccinations are one of the most effective ways you can help protect yourself from COVID-19. If you do become ill, there may be treatment options available.
Everyone 6 months of age and older is eligible to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on the vaccine manufacturer and your age, there may be one, two or three doses needed to complete your primary series. In addition, there are booster doses available to help strengthen your protection over time. It takes two weeks after your last dose for the vaccine to protect you from COVID-19.
Most people who become ill with COVID-19 will be able to recover at home. For individuals at the highest risk for hospitalization or death, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of antibody therapies and antiviral medications.
Symptoms, diagnosis and care
Is it COVID-19?
Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 is important. They can be very similar to the symptoms of a cold or flu.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms can include:
Fever (100°F or higher)
Chills or repeated shaking with chills
New loss of taste or smell
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, it is important to isolate to avoid spreading the virus to others.
You should also:
Limit contact with others
Wash hands frequently with soap and water
Cover your cough with your elbow
Sneeze into a tissue
Stay home from work, school or public areas
Avoid public transportation
Clean and disinfect objects you touch often
Not share personal items
Wear a cloth mask that covers your nose and mouth if you are around others
For those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, quarantining helps prevent the spread of disease — especially if a person does not know they are sick or if they are infected with the virus but doesn’t have symptoms.
If you have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or you are experiencing symptoms, you should be tested even if you are fully vaccinated.
Individuals experiencing symptoms
Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their health care providers. UW Health patients can call their clinic or send a message via MyChart.
Patients who receive a COVID-19 test at a UW Health facility can receive their results quickly through their MyChart account. Patients who do not have a MyChart account can sign up online. To sign up, visit uwhealthmychart.org and select the Sign Up Now blue button.
Individuals not experiencing symptoms
If you do not have symptoms (asymptomatic), but are seeking a COVID-19 test, we encourage you to pursue one of the other available testing locations and options.
COVID-19 testing options