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Recovering from Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Patients with MERS may have mild to severe disease. Most patients with mild disease recover without complications. Patients with severe disease may require longer hospitalizations and have a higher risk of death.

What to Expect

Younger patients without prior medical problems usually do well and recover completely. If you think you may have MERS, see your doctor or nurse for an evaluation. If you have mild symptoms, your doctor may monitor you at home. You should remain at home and stay away from other people to keep the virus from spreading. Additionally, you should keep personal items such as towels, bed sheets, utensils and clothes away from others and wear a facemask. Cover your cough and sneezes, and wash your hands often with soap and water. It is also important to watch closely for any worsening symptoms and report them to your healthcare provider immediately. Details about home care for patients with MERS can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: ( Sicker patients are cared for in the hospital and may need artificial lung support if their breathing becomes worse. Those who had contact with someone with MERS are at greater risk of infection and may infect others if they have symptoms. Such individuals should be closely monitored for 14 days from the last day of exposure.

Finding Support

According to the CDC, people in the United States who did not travel to areas where MERS usually occurs are at very low risk of infection. Updates about vaccinations and treatment for MERS can be found on the CDC website and World Health Organization website. For those outside the United States, you should contact your local health authorities, and review the information on the websites listed above.

The Lung Association recommends patients and caregivers join our Living with Lung Disease Support Community to connect with others facing this disease. You can also call the Lung Association's Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA to talk to a trained respiratory professional who can help answer your questions and connect you with additional support.

    This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

    Page Last Updated: March 13, 2018

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