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What to do if you think you have coronavirus

Someone who suspects they may already have coronavirus should make certain to call before going to a doctor's office, emergency room or urgent care center.

ATLANTA — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate respiratory infections, not unlike the common cold.

They say that most people become infected with these types of viruses at some point in their lives. Common coronaviruses usually only last for a short period of time and have symptoms that include a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being "unwell." 

However, according to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), have ranged from mild to severe illness 

The Georgia Department of Public Health advises that anyone who has recently traveled to areas where there are ongoing outbreaks of coronavirus -- which, as of Tuesday, March 3, includes China, South Korea, Italy and Iran -- and develops fever with cough and shortness of breath within 14 days of travel; or has had contact with someone who is suspected of having coronavirus, should stay at home and contact their health care provider or local health department immediately. 

Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said in a release that someone who suspects they may already have coronavirus should make certain to call before going to a doctor's office, emergency room or urgent care center and tell them of your recent travel and your symptoms before visiting.

RELATED: Best practices for coronavirus prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the novel coronavirus. The best way to prevent illness, according to the CDC is to avoid exposure to the virus. 

As a reminder, healthcare professionals always recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

The CDC does not recommend people who are well to wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus. 

Face masks should be used by those who have symptoms of coronavirus to help prevent the spread of the virus to others. 

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