What is coronavirus?
The new coronavirus was first detected in China in late 2019. This coronavirus has been named SARS-CoV-2. It causes the respiratory disease COVID-19 (which stands for coronavirus disease 2019).
The new coronavirus has spread to many countries, including the U.S. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild. However, some cases are severe and can lead to death.
For the latest information on the coronavirus, visit The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Am I at risk of getting coronavirus?
Since COVID-19 is now in the U.S., the CDC cautions that an outbreak (when a large number of people suddenly get sick) could happen in your community. If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, your local public health department may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. The CDC has tips to prepare and take action for COVID-19.
Check the CDC website and your local public health department website for the latest information.
If I have breast cancer, am I at a higher risk?
There are no extra precautions for most people who have completed cancer treatment.
People who are older or who have other health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, appear more at risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Additionally, if you’re on chemotherapy or immunotherapy, or you have metastatic breast cancer, your immune system may be weakened. This means you have an increased risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. The CDC advises you take these extra steps:
- Stock up on supplies.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others. (Six feet is the current recommended physical distance)
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
If you have symptoms and have traveled to an affected country or have been in contact with someone who’s been diagnosed with COVID-19, call your doctor.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Common symptoms of coronavirus are:
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms tend to appear 2-14 days after exposure to coronavirus. However, a person may be contagious before symptoms appear.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
If you have symptoms and have traveled to an affected country or have been in contact with someone who’s been diagnosed with COVID-19, call your doctor immediately.
What can I do to protect myself and my family?
To avoid being exposed to coronavirus, the CDC recommends everyone:
- 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. This is especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, before touching your face, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Ask people who come to your home to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when they arrive.
Should I still get my mammogram?
In an effort to minimize exposure and free up needed health capacity to deal with COVID-19, Susan G. Komen suggests healthy women of average risk delay routine breast cancer screening until later this year.
If you are displaying warning signs for breast cancer, contact your health provider to determine your next steps. PLEASE NOTE: Warning signs for breast cancer are not the same for all women. The most common signs are changes to the look or feel of the breast. Visit komen.org to learn more about the warning signs for breast cancer. See a doctor if you notice any change in your breast.
If you don’t have symptoms, you don’t need a facemask
The CDC recommends facemasks only be used by people who have symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. If you are well, you don’t need a facemask to protect yourself from COVID-19.
Can I travel?
If you have travel plans, check the CDC website for recommendations on postponing or canceling travel.