Coronavirus is dominating the news and the coverage is getting more extensive.
Misinformation and fake news is rife on social media, so we’re pulled together the following information from the NHS and Public Health England. However the situation is evolving quickly and for the latest information you are advised to visit the Government’s information website page which is updated every day.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world.
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
What is the treatment for COVID-19
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.
Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
How is COVID-19 spread?
Because it's a new illness, it is not known how exactly coronavirus spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.
Do I need to avoid public places?
Most people can continue to go to work, school and other public places.
You only need to stay away from public places (self-isolate) if advised to by the 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional.
How do I avoid catching or spreading germs?
There are things you can do to help stop viruses like coronavirus spreading.
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
What do I do if I think I may have COVID-19
Visit the NHS 111 website or call 111 if you need to speak to someone.
Do not go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
How do I self-isolate?
If there's a chance you could have COVID-19, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate).
This means you should:
- stay at home
- not go to work, school or public places
- not use public transport or taxis
- ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
- try to avoid visitors to your home – it's OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help reduce the possible spread of infection.