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What happens to your body if you’re infected by the coronavirus?

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COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, starts in your respiratory tract. That’s the airway between your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs. It’s the same place that the common cold attacks. But COVID-19 is more likely to get deeper into your respiratory tract, including into your lungs.

When your body spots the virus, your immune system counterattacks. One sign of that is a fever. You might have a cough, too. That’s your body’s usual response to something that’s in the airways that shouldn’t be.

SOURCES:

Raina McIntyre, PhD, NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Professor of Global Biosecurity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

MedlinePlus: “Viral Infections,” “Fever.”

CDC: “Coronavirus.”

Nature : “Virus.”

Science : “Cryo-EM structure of the 2019-nCoV spike in the prefusion conformation.”

Genetics Home Reference: “What is a cell?”

Federation of American Scientists: “Do you have COVID-19 questions? Our scientists have answers.”

Journal of the American Medical Association : “Coronavirus infections—more than just the common cold.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “That nagging cough.”

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: “Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – United States, February 12 – March 16, 2020.”

American Lung Association: “What causes pneumonia?” “Learn about ARDS.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Here’s the Damage Coronavirus (COVID-19) Can Do to Your Lungs.”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on March 20, 2020

SOURCES:

Raina McIntyre, PhD, NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Professor of Global Biosecurity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

MedlinePlus: “Viral Infections,” “Fever.”

CDC: “Coronavirus.”

Nature : “Virus.”

Science : “Cryo-EM structure of the 2019-nCoV spike in the prefusion conformation.”

Genetics Home Reference: “What is a cell?”

Federation of American Scientists: “Do you have COVID-19 questions? Our scientists have answers.”

Journal of the American Medical Association : “Coronavirus infections—more than just the common cold.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “That nagging cough.”

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: “Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – United States, February 12 – March 16, 2020.”

American Lung Association: “What causes pneumonia?” “Learn about ARDS.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Here’s the Damage Coronavirus (COVID-19) Can Do to Your Lungs.”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak on March 20, 2020

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What happens to your body if you have a serious case of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus?

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