Coronavirus Incubation Period

Coronavirus Incubation Period: How Long Before Symptoms Appear

Are you wondering about the coronavirus incubation period? Then, this post will shed light on the necessary information you need to know. Before going into the details, you need to know that COVID-19 is the illness, causing respiratory issues in infected people. It can also affect animals and trigger different symptoms. The new strain, SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Wuhan, in late 2019. Within a few months, it has spread to several countries around the world. The number of people infected is rising each day and causes death in people. Older people, young children below ten years, and people who suffer from underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to the infection.

Despite the pandemic raging for more than five months around the world, scientists are still unable to reliably estimate the incubation period. Different studies are published to shed light on the various attempts made by the experts to arrive at an accurate estimate. Like diseases caused by other viruses, the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 varied from one person to another. Read ahead to know when the symptoms may appear and the next steps you need to take.

Know About Incubation Period

Coronavirus What do you mean by the incubation period? It refers to the number of days it takes to see the first signs of the disease after contracting somethings. Healthcare professionals and the health department officials use the number to decide how many days you need to stay away from others when you suffer from the infection. As the condition differs, the number changes. Health officials calculate the coronavirus incubation period to calculate the risk an infected person poses on others. So, if you are around someone who suffers from COVID-19, then you are at risk. Based on the incubation period, health officials calculate the need to stay at home. When you are in clear, you can safely go out. Staying inside the house during the period is referred to as self-quarantine. But, how can you know if you suffer from the infection? It depends on the incubation period.

What Is The Coronavirus Incubation Period?

For actual detection of the incubation period of coronavirus, researchers have studies several people with confirmed infection. The researchers included cases of people who have come in close contact with others who have confirmed COVID-19 infection. After studying several newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, the researchers determined the average incubation period as five days. So, in most people, after contracting the virus, they show symptoms after five days. In some rare cases, the symptoms appeared after two days of COVID-19 infection exposure. The majority of people showed symptoms by day 12 while others showed symptoms of illness by day 14. In some rare cases, people can show signs of the disease after 14 days. Scientists believe it is possible only in rare cases (like one out of a hundred people exposed to the virus).

Coronavirus Incubation Period

Apart from that there is another group that has no symptoms. They never experience any signs of discomfort caused due to the infection. Such people are known as asymptomatic people. Others may not realize they suffer from the infection because the signs are very mild. The studies detecting the incubation period does not include mild cases or asymptomatic case. It is because the incubation period is different from the other cases.

When Is Coronavirus The Most Contagious?

Contagious means you can spread the illness to others. Knowing when the illness has more possibility to spread to others will help you prevent it. For coronavirus infection, a person who has contracted the virus can spread it to others two or three days before you start observing the signs. The disease is most contagious one or two days before you start feeling sick. Therefore, in most cases, after ten to twelve days, the infected person can spread it to others.

Steps To Take After Coronavirus Exposure

The most logical step you can take if you suspect SARS-CoV-2 exposure is to self-quarantine. Some people may come in contact with the virus and may have no visible signs. In such cases, you need to self-monitor. Watch your body for the following signs:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

Apart from monitoring your body for the signs of the disease, you must also take the following steps to ensure you never spread the disease to others:

Avoid Contact

If you traveled recently or know that you came into contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should self-quarantine. Stay home for 14 days. It’s very rare for symptoms to show up after that much time.

Check your temperature twice a day, and watch for other symptoms. Stay away from other people, especially those who are at high risk of serious illness because of their age or another medical condition.

Social Distancing

Social Distancing

You need to stay out of crowded places for a while. If you have to go out, then always maintain some distance (at least six feet) from others. It will help you prevent the spread of infection or contract it from others. It is better to avoid going out when you are the most contagious.

Wear A Face Mask

Wear A Face Mask

When you go out, wear a face mask. It is necessary that all people (normal or infected people) need to wear a face mask. In some public places, it is difficult to maintain the suggested six-foot distance from others. So, to slow the spread of the disease as a responsible person, opt for a mask. It helps prevent the spread of the disease from asymptomatic people or others who do not realize they suffer from COVID-19. You need to combine using a face mask along with physical distancing to get the best protection. You can follow the instructions for using the face mask properly. Choosing the type of mask you choose also plays an important role. It is better to reserve surgical masks as well as an N95 respirator for healthcare workers.

Transmission Of Coronavirus

While the first transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred when a person in the Chinese meat market in Wuhan contracted the virus from an animal. But, the infection spread like a wildfire due to human-to-human transmission. SARS-CoV-2 spread to others when people came in close contact with an infected person. The droplets scattered while coughing or sneezing contain a virus that can affect others. COVID-19 is highly contagious. So, it spreads easily from one person to another. An infected person can spread the disease when they are starting to show symptoms of COVID-19. While it is less common, it is also possible for an infected person to transmit the virus when they show no symptoms. Here are the common ways of transmission of the virus:

  • When a person inhales the droplets from coughing or sneezing with the virus from an infected person.
  • Transmission of the virus also occurs when you touch a contaminated surface containing SARS-CoV-2 and then touch your nose, eyes, or mouth.

The common transmission mode is the human-to-human transmission. It is most prevalent among the healthcare community as they care for an infected person without using PPE (personal protective equipment).

Protecting Yourself From Coronavirus

Can you protect yourself from the devastating infection? It is possible to reduce the risk of infection by taking certain proactive steps. It will help you reduce the possibility of suffering from the infection. Here are some of the best ways to keep yourself safe:

Wash Your Hands

Wash Your Hands

The best way to protect yourself from infection is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. You need to keep your hands clean. Rub your hands with soap for at least twenty seconds and then rinse off with water. While using soap and water if the best method to clean your hands, at times, you may not have access to it. In such cases, you can use a hand sanitizer (containing 60% alcohol). Similarly, wash your hands or use sanitizer after touching high-risk surfaces like ATM buttons, elevator, grocery carts, and gas pump handle.

Social Distancing

You need to stay at least six feet away from another person when you are in a public space. Try to stay away from people who seem sick. Try to avoid going to places with a large gathering of people.

Avoid Touching Your Face

You can contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus when you touch your face after touching a highly infected surface. The virus can enter your body through your eyes, nose, or mouth. So, touch your face only after washing your hands or after using a hand sanitizer.

Never Share Personal Items

Avoid sharing personal items with others. It is because sharing personal items can increase your risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2 to others. Try not to share the following items:

  • Utensils
  • Drinking glasses
  • Toothbrushes
  • Lip balm

Disinfect High-Risk Surfaces

You need to wipe down high-touch surfaces with disinfectants, diluted bleach solution, or household cleaners. So, wipe down surfaces like stair rails, keyboards, doorknobs, or table surfaces that you touch frequently.

Stay At Home

If you have underlying health problems like diabetes, respiratory issues, kidney disease, or heart problems, then stay at home. People who you have traveled recently or suspect exposure to viruses need to observe their body for signs associated with the disease. What are the symptoms you need to observe? Here are the signs you have to look:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

Other less common symptoms associated with the condition include:

  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Boy pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Chills (sometimes patients can experience frequent shaking)
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell

Some people cannot distinguish the difference between COVID-19 symptoms and cold. But, people suffering from SARS-CoV-2 suffer more respiratory symptoms than the common cold. Cold only causes nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. But, the common cold does not cause fever. While flu has symptoms similar to COVID-19, it does not cause shortness of breath. People with coronavirus infection can suffer from respiratory problems.

Steps To Take When You Show Symptoms Of Coronavirus Infection

Irrespective of all the precautions you take, there is a small percentage of chance that you can become exposed to the virus. Never worry as studies indicate the high recovery rate. Healthy people with no underlying medical issues can recover from the infection without complications. They may not need any special medical treatment. But, some people can suffer from a more severe form of the disease. It is a possibility in people with a weakened immune system (older people, young children, and people with other diseases). In such cases, hospitalization is necessary. What are the steps you need to take when you suspect COVID-19? Here are some you can follow:

Consult Your Doctor

If you see the symptoms associated with the infection, you need to stay at home. Then, call your doctor immediately. It is important that you get the necessary advice from your doctor regarding the next step. For providing the right advice, your doctor needs to know the following:

  • The type of symptoms you experience
  • The severity of your symptoms
  • Your recent travel history (mention if you have traveled to a location with the outbreak)
  • You suspect coming in contact with people who are suspected of or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis
  • If you have attended large gatherings (like prayer meeting or marriage function)

Based on your answers, the doctor may ask you to visit the hospital or stay at home

Further Assessment

You need to visit the doctor for further assessment in certain cases. So, you need to go to the hospital in the following cases:

  • You suffer from severe symptoms making it impossible to complete your daily routine
  • If you are an older adult (above 60 years) or a young child (below ten years)
  • You suffer from underlying health conditions
  • High possibility of coming in contact with a person infected by COVID-19

When you visit the hospital, make an appointment beforehand. Your doctor will ensure you never come in contact with other patients. It is important to wear a mask when you go out. Try to sneeze or cough by covering your mouth with a tissue and throw it in the dustbin.

Get Treatment Suggestions

Based on the assessment, your doctor can suggest further testing and decide on the best course of treatment. You have the following options:

Mild Coronavirus Infection Treatment

If you have mild symptoms and have no other underlying health concerns, then the doctor suggests rest. You need to stay at home and ensure you drink sufficient amount of water to stay hydrated. Try to avoid contact with others. Self-isolate and ensure people in your family have no close with you. Stay in a room with an attached bathroom to ensure you never pass the virus. Ask other members of your family to wear a mask when around you.

Severe Coronavirus Infection Treatment

If you have severe symptoms or see your condition worsening after a few days of rest, then get immediate medical assistance.

Other Types Of Coronaviruses

If you think COVID-19 is new, then you are mistaken. It is one of the most common kinds of virus, which causes infection in your upper throat, sinuses, or nose. While most coronaviruses are not dangerous, COVID-19 is an exception. The new strain of coronavirus (SARS-SoV-2) that came to the limelight after the outbreak in December 2019 has robbed the lives of lakhs of people. The outbreak that occurred in China has spread to most of the countries in the world. SARS-CoV-2 is the most recent type of coronavirus discovered by scientists. It spread from the animals in the open market in China to humans. Through human-to-human transmission, it has affected lakhs of people around the world. Due to the illness, you suffer from respiratory problems.

Are Coronaviruses New?

Well, no. The specific type of viruses was identified by scientists in 1960. It is a common infection. Unlike the current strain, other viruses have not caused such a high level of devastation. These types of viruses can trigger illnesses in both humans as well as animals. As the name suggests, the virus has a crown-like appearance. It is named after the proteins present outside the virus that looks like a crown under the microscope. The other types of coronavirus can trigger mild to severe symptoms. So, a person suffering from the infection can experience common cold to pneumonia. In most cases, people suffer from viral infection at least once in their lifetime. But, it is not as severe as the present SARS-CoV-2 strain.

Symptoms Associated With Coronavirus Infection

As suggested above, the virus is not new and people suffer from the different strains at least once in their life. From young children to matured people, the infection affects people commonly in fall and winter. But, the infection can affect anyone at any time in their life. People suffering from the infection can have the following symptoms:

  • High Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing

In most cases, people may not know if they suffer from coronavirus infection or the common flu (for example, the cold caused due to rhinovirus). You tend to treat the infection like the same way you get treatment for cold.

Other Serious Coronavirus Outbreaks

While COVID-19 is the most dangerous outbreak, there are other serious attacks caused by the genus of the virus. Here are the two serious outbreaks:

The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)

MERS refers to the viral respiratory disease first detected in Saudi Arabia. In 2012, the MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Virus) caused the disease. MERS-CoV belongs to the coronavirus family and is a zoonotic virus. It means the virus transmission occurs between people and animals. When humans come in direct or indirect contact with infected animals, virus transmission occurs. The disease was triggered due to humans coming in contact with dromedary camels infected by the virus. While the origins of the virus remain unclear, scientists who analyzed the various virus genomes believe bats are the culprit. The bats transmitted the virus to camels in the past.

Middle East respiratory syndrome

A total of 858 people died due to the disease. It spread from Saudi Arabia to different countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. It also spread to the USA and South Korea reported an outbreak of the disease in 2015. While the disease spread from an infected animal to humans, human-to-human transmission is possible. When healthcare workers or others come in very close contact with the infected people, the transmission occurs. It is a high risk in healthcare professionals who care for infected people without using PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

SARS caused by SARS-CoV is another virus belonging to the coronavirus group. Scientists first identified the virus in 2003 when an outbreak occurred in the Guangdong province in Southern China. The virus spread from an animal reservoir (most probably bats) and it spread to other animals like civet cats. It transmitted from the animals to humans and became an epidemic. From China it spread to 26 more countries around the world. It infected more than 8000 people in the 26 countries. The epidemic also resulted in the death of 774 people. Since 2003, the virus has infected in a small number of people as a result of animal-to-human transmission and laboratory accidents.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

Human-to-human transmission occurs due to coming in contact with infected people. In most people, the infection transmits during the second week of the illness. It is the peak period of virus excretion in the body fluids, respiratory secretion, and stool. The transmission occurred in people who worked in the healthcare setting. The absence of adequate PPE equipment resulted in the spread of the disease. SARS outbreak came to an end after implementing the appropriate infection control guidelines and practices by the concerned authorities.


The risk of COVID-19 is high with more and more people getting the infection. But, with most countries easing the lockdown, the risk of contracting the infection is on the higher end. If you suspect the infection, then you will start noticing the symptoms within two to fourteen days. This period is referred to as the coronavirus incubation period. But, on average people can develop the issues within five days. The virus is changing its characteristics and undergoing mutations, which can change the time to develop symptoms. Since it is a new virus, scientists have not uncovered all the aspects of the virus. If you suffer from the symptoms of COVID-19, then stay at home and avoid contact with other people. Until you detect the type of illness you suffer, it is better to take precautions.

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