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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

About COVID-19

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. Symptoms may include a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath. It can spread through droplets from coughing and sneezing, breathing, and singing. The virus also can spread when people are in close contact with someone who is infected.

It's important to not spread the virus to others. If you have COVID-19, wear a high-quality mask anytime you are around other people. Isolate yourself. Improve airflow. Leave your home only if you need to get medical care or testing.

Testing for COVID-19

Treatment for COVID-19

A mild case of COVID-19 can usually be treated at home. Over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help relieve your symptoms.

But even if your symptoms are mild, talk to your doctor right away. Medicines, such as antivirals, can help reduce the risk of serious illness. But you need to take them within a few days after symptoms start. There may be other options if antivirals aren't a good choice for you.

If you do get very sick, you will need to be treated in the hospital. Treatment may include breathing support, such as oxygen therapy or a ventilator. Some people may be placed on their belly to help their oxygen levels. Medicines may be given. For example, you may get a blood thinner to help prevent blood clots.

COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine can help you avoid getting COVID-19.

The number of doses you need depends on which vaccine you get. It also depends on your age and health. Most people also need "booster" doses later to help them stay protected. You are considered to be up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines when you've received all the recommended doses and booster doses.

The vaccine prevents many cases of COVID-19. But if you do still catch COVID-19, your symptoms will probably be less severe than if you hadn't gotten the vaccine. You can't get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Visit the Indiana State Department of Health's website and the Ohio Department of Health's website.

Frequently asked questions

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms may include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Chills or repeated shaking with chills.
  • Muscle and body aches.
  • Headache.
  • Sore throat.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

In severe cases, COVID-19 can cause pneumonia and make it hard to breathe without help from a machine. It can cause death.

How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

COVID-19 is diagnosed with a viral test. This may also be called a PCR test or antigen test. It looks for evidence of the virus in your breathing passages or lungs (respiratory system).

The test is most often done on a sample from the nose, throat, or lungs. It's sometimes done on a sample of saliva. One way a sample is collected is by putting a long swab into the back of your nose.

If you have questions about COVID-19 testing, ask your doctor or go to to use the COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool.

What should you do if you were exposed to COVID-19?

If you've been exposed to the virus, it's important to get tested and to avoid spreading the virus.

If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 AND you don't have symptoms, you don't need to stay in the place where you live or separate yourself from others.

  • For at least 10 full days, wear a high-quality mask when you are around other people, even those you live with.
  • Get tested. Do it right away if you develop symptoms. Wait at least 5 days after you were exposed if you don't have symptoms.
  • If your test is positive, call your doctor right away. The doctor may have you take a medicine to keep you from getting seriously ill. Treatment works best when started early. And isolate right away.
  • Take extra care if you have to be around other people who are at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. Keep some extra space between yourself and others, for example. And don't travel.
  • Improve airflow. If you have to spend time indoors with others, open windows and doors. Or you can use a fan to blow air away from people and out a window.
How can you protect yourself and others from COVID-19?

Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines. Avoid sick people, and stay away from others if you're sick. Avoid crowds, especially indoors. Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you've been exposed, wear a mask. You may need to stay home, away from others. Wash your hands often.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It will help protect you from the virus. If you do get COVID-19, you're less likely to get seriously ill. And it also helps you protect the people around you.

Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Everyone who is able to get the vaccine should get it as soon as possible. The more people who get vaccinated, the better we'll be able to slow the spread of the virus.

The vaccine is extra important for people who are at high risk. This includes people who may be exposed to COVID-19 more often because of their jobs. It also includes people who are at high risk for complications from COVID-19 if they catch it. Some examples of people at high risk include those who:

  • Work in health care.
  • Are considered essential workers.
  • Have certain health conditions.
  • Are older than age 65.

If you've already had COVID-19, you may still be able to catch it again. Getting the vaccine gives you extra protection.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

You might not have any side effects. But if you do, they'll probably be like side effects from other vaccines. Those can include a fever, soreness, and feeling very tired. You may also have other side effects, including chills, headache, arm pain, or a rash. This is normal. Your body is building protection against COVID-19.

What are the risks of getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

Serious problems from the vaccine are very rare. A serious allergic reaction may happen in extremely rare cases, but it can be treated. And the risks of problems from COVID-19 are much higher than the risks of problems from the vaccine. Remember, even if you're young and healthy, COVID-19 can make you very sick.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

The vaccine for COVID-19 is safe and effective. In fact, the risk of serious problems from getting COVID-19 is much higher than the risk of serious problems from the vaccine. The vaccine has gone through many studies to make sure that it's safe. And you can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Additional questions?

Find more information on COVID-19 vaccination on the Indiana Department of Health website or the Ohio Department of Health website.