While it’s the no-brainer of diseases that these spring and summer viruses are easy to pick up in a foreign place, it’s difficult to know when you’re getting sick, and you might be tested for them all on the same trip — just not in your country, where you would’ve traveled in the first place.
If you return to the United States after being infected, though, you’ll need to call your doctor or health care provider for approval to return (you may be tested for more than one of the viruses). We know you care about getting back into the United States, so let’s give you our advice on what you need to know about avoiding the 100 or so different coronaviruses to come your way this year.
Where are the viruses coming from?
Coronaviruses are primarily carried around by wild and domestic animals. Animals come into contact with these viruses all the time:
Insects, such as mosquitoes, ants, flies and dust mites
Animals, such as pigs, sheep, cows, deer, horses, cats, dogs, owls, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, crows, sparrows, wrens, grackles, etc.
What are the symptoms of the viruses?
The symptoms of the human coronavirus differ depending on which one you have. Although most people will usually have a fever, it can go downhill rapidly in the body after the onset of fever, so most people will fall ill quickly. Just as illnesses can go downhill quickly, as well, the viruses may go to zero very quickly, although it’s possible the virus will remain in the body for days.
If you do develop symptoms, they can be serious, possibly leading to serious complications that make it difficult to recover, including severe respiratory infections, kidney complications, acute and prolonged high blood pressure, and cardiac or cardiovascular disease.
When should you start thinking about seeking medical attention?
Your doctor or a doctor from another country should test you and make the determination on whether you have the human coronavirus infection. It may take a few days, and after a few days, you should start to have symptoms clear up. Because symptoms are similar to other causes of death, though, doctors are likely to call this a suspicious case.
How do I get tested for the coronavirus?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these additional options:
A physician can request a test for the coronavirus
The CDC, which has an Influenza center, has published information about case reports
The CDC also has procedures to help doctors screen people in the United States who are coming back from countries that are infected with the human coronavirus. The medical requirements vary according to location. For example, those returning from Nigeria or Iraq may not have to get a test. For those returning from Qatar, Jordan or Kuwait, though, you’ll need to test.
Do we need to take additional precautions?
Yes. Do not eat raw camel meat or eat camel liver while in your home country. Raw camel liver is a virus in the same family as the human coronavirus. People need to be careful to wear protective equipment while handling camel products. Do not drink unpasteurized camels milk. Do not travel if you have recently been to countries that have known cases of the coronavirus.
How should you be concerned about the human coronavirus virus?
Serious coronavirus infections are rare, so disease prevention is likely going to be limited unless the number of people infected with the virus increases. However, the United States has not had any recent cases of severe human coronavirus infection, and this is likely to remain the case. Because the United States is usually well below the threshold for increased risk, though, people can typically rest easy.
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