COVID-19 Basics: What You Should Know | UC Davis Health

COVID-19 Basics: What you should know

Updated June 15, 2023

UC Davis Health is committed to providing you with the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, including the latest on testing, how COVID-19 is spread, and COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more about the virus so you can better protect yourself and your family:

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which originated in Wuhan, China, is part of a family of viruses that our care teams are very familiar with. Coronavirus cause respiratory tract infections, including the common cold, and more serious infections like SARS. Symptoms start out like any other cold: fever, runny nose, cough and overall just feeling bad. It can progress and cause more severe illness like pneumonia, which can be fatal.

Evidence shows novel coronavirus is most often transmitted through droplets generated by coughs and sneezes. COVID-19 may also be transmitted when people touch contaminated surfaces and then touch their face, nose or mouth.

COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the the virus, according to the CDC. People with these symptoms or a combination of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • fatigue
  • muscle or body aches
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • congestion or runny nose
  • nausea or vomiting

Call your primary care provider if you experience COVID-19 symptoms and believe you've been in close contact with a person who has the virus.

Learn more about which COVID-19 symptoms you should watch for

You can find a COVID-19 testing location near you through California’s COVID-19 website. You can view  county testing resources as well:

UC Davis Health patients and non-patients with COVID-19 symptoms can contact a doctor through UC Davis Express Care or contact their primary care provider by phone or MyUCDavisHealth. A doctor can help quickly coordinate a COVID-19 test, possibly at a UC Davis Health drive-up site in Sacramento.

Access UC Davis Express Care for patients

Access UC Davis Express Care for non-patients

Vaccinations are available for anyone ages 6 months and older. You can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine dose at UC Davis Health through MyUCDavisHealth. UC Davis Health patients can also schedule an appointment by calling 916-703-5555 Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

UC Davis Health is vaccinating patients and non-patients at our primary care clinics in:

  • Auburn
  • Carmichael
  • Davis 
  • Elk Grove
  • Folsom
  • Rancho Cordova
  • Rocklin
  • Roseville
  • Sacramento

Learn more about how to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine and what to expect

Health professionals recommend that you wear a face mask (covering both the mouth and nose) when indoors around anyone not in your household and outdoors in crowded settings.

Several studies have indicated how effective masks can be in protecting yourself and others. It’s important to remember that you may be asymptomatic and not know you are infected but still able to spread COVID-19. Masking up in these situations helps protect vulnerable people you could unknowingly infect.

Learn which face masks protect you the best against COVID-19

COVID-19 and children

Health experts recommend that children be vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC has approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children ages 6 months and older.

For those who are under 18 years old, they will need to have a parent or legal guardian provide consent for treatment at their appointment. UC Davis Health accepts written or verbal consent. It's also advised that anyone under age 18 have someone drive them to and from their appointment. With any vaccine, there's an increased risk of fainting for children ages 11 to 18, according to the CDC.

Get your questions answered about kids and COVID-19 vaccines

Learn more about how the COVID-19 vaccine works

Since May 2020, the CDC has been tracking multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in children. It is a rare but serious condition that can be life-threatening and require hospitalization, according to the California Department of Public Health. Some children developed MIS-C after being diagnosed with COVID-19 or after coming into contact with someone who had COVID-19.

According to the CDC, most cases are in children between the ages of 1 and 14 years. Children typically developed MIS-C 2-4 weeks after being infected with COVID-19. Symptoms of MIS-C include:

  • fever that doesn't go away
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • neck pain
  • rash
  • bloodshot eyes
  • feeling tired

Contact your child's physician immediately if your child has these symptoms.

Even children who are asymptomatic for COVID-19 can have long COVID. That's why preventing all cases, even the cases where children show no symptoms, is important. Pediatricians encourage parents to have their children vaccinated if they’re eligible. The next best protection is wearing a mask.

Learn more about long COVID and lasting symptoms

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) generally shows about 2-4 weeks after acute COVID-19 infection by 2-4. The most common symptoms are high fever, rash, and gastrointestinal issues such as nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, although many other systems in the body may be involved. The most common age for MIS-C is 5 to 13 years old, and these children tend to be very ill.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) usually causes upper respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, runny eyes, cough, and low-grade fever. It's generally mild except in children under 2 years of age, where it can trigger bronchiolitis, an inflammation of lung airways that may lead to wheezing.

Flu generally has an abrupt onset of high fever and respiratory symptoms such as runny nose and cough, plus muscle aches, fatigue and tiredness. Gastrointestinal symptoms commonly occur in children including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Read more: RSV in children and what parents need to know

Read more: Why MIS-C is a life-threatening COVID-19 complication that parents don't want to miss

Your health and medical care

If you need to go to the hospital because you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or get to a hospital immediately. If you have COVID-19 symptoms that are difficult to manage, but not that serious, call your primary care provider or seek urgent care.

If you have symptoms that seem like a common cold, but aren’t that serious, isolate yourself, treat it at home, and stay away from others.

Note: Some people are considered at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to the CDC. Some of these groups include people over age 65, and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, serious heart conditions, or cancer treatment. The CDC currently advises higher-risk groups to:

  • Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
  • Have a plan for if you get sick, and
  • Call your health care provider if you do get sick

The CDC also posts specific information about other populations who need extra precautions, such as pregnant women and racial and ethnic minority groups.

If your COVID-19 symptoms or medical condition are serious enough that you need medical assistance, call your doctor, health care provider, advice nurse, or other health care professional. 

Learn how to make your appointment a video visit

Our care teams are handling COVID-19 cases in much the same way we manage other diseases that require safety precautions and monitoring. We are in constant communication with the CDC, California Department of Public Health and Sacramento County Public Health about managing potential cases.

The information we receive includes best clinical practices for enabling clinicians, as well as patients and the public, to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Stay informed!

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