It’s good to just get all the facts in one place, so here are the Coronavirus or Covid-19 basics.
Do I have Coronavirus – Covid-19?
The most common symptoms of Coronavirus are:
- a new continuous cough and/or
- a high temperature
But symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches and a loss of sense of smell.
For most people, it will be a mild illness.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you have symptoms, or even think you may have them, then stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
This is to protect yourself and others.
After 7 days, providing you don’t have a high temperature, you can come out of self-isolation.
If you still have a temperature after this time, you should remain in self-isolation until it returns to normal.
A cough can last several weeks after the infection has gone.
If you show coronavirus symptoms:
Do NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital;
You do NOT need to contact 111 unless your symptoms are unmanageable;
Testing is not required if you’re staying at home.
How to manage Coronavirus at home. (Link to Patient Info website)
What if symptoms get worse?
If your condition is worsening go to the 111 website , or if you don’t have internet access call 111. If you are seriously unwell, dial 999.
What about other people in my house?
If you are the first person in your household to have symptoms, then you must stay at home for 7 days.
But, everyone else in the house, even if they remain well, must not leave the house for 14 days. The 14 day period begins on the day the first person became ill.
If any of them then becomes ill, then they start their 7 day self-isolation from the moment they first show symptoms.
What if I share my house with vulnerable individuals?
If you can, you should move any vulnerable people (the elderly, those with underlying health conditions) out of your home to stay with friends or family during the isolation period.
If you can’t move them, then stay away from them as much as possible.
Shielding is basically all about protecting the most vulnerable people. If you are classed as “extremely vulnerable” you will have already received a letter – and there’s a full list here on the Government website.
The aim is to keep you from coming into contact with the virus and that’s why you’re strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact with anyone, for a period of 12 weeks.
You will be able to get visits from people who provide essential support, but they must stay away if they are showing any symptoms.
Ask friends, family or neighbours to help support you, plus if you can, use online services. If this isn’t possible, then you can register for support here on this Government link.
For more information on all of the above, we’ve created a short film, which you can watch below.
What if I have a doctor’s appointment?
We advise everyone to access medical assistance remotely, when possible.
If you have a scheduled hospital or other medical appointment during this period, talk to your GP or specialist to ensure you continue to receive the care you need and see which appointments are absolutely essential.
There’s a lot more information here on the Government website.
How can I try to remain safe?
The best advice is to Stay at Home and Stay Safe.
You should wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, using soap and water. If that’s not available, then hand sanitiser.
Avoid touching your face.
Will masks help?
Current advice is that it won’t, however, more research is currently being done.
Masks are in short supply and are desperately needed by health professionals to help safely treat the critically ill. In some circumstances a health care worker may ask you to wear a mask, it is important to follow their advice.
For more information, this is the Government website.
How can I prepare?
If you do get Coronavirus, even if it’s just mild symptoms, you will face a number of days in self- isolation, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. We’re not talking stock-piling, instead just a few sensible measures.
- Do you have enough Paracetamol?
- Do you have a dog, is there anyone who could walk it?
- How will you get groceries, can anyone nearby help, or can you arrange deliveries?
- Why not spend a couple of days putting together some ready-prepared meals that you can defrost?
What if I don’t feel safe in my house?
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you will be able to leave home to seek help at refuges, despite the current distancing measures.
Most of the hotlines are remaining open.
The BBC has a longer list of websites and resources, in most cases there is a “hide page” option, in case someone comes in while you’re online.
Citizen’s Advice website with further information.