Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated: Mar 10

Common questions and Advice- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Source NHS UK


Advice for you and your family

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.


What's the risk of catching coronavirus in the UK?

The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. But the risk to individuals remains low.

Health professionals are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have coronavirus.


Symptoms of coronavirus

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. Urgent advice: Call 111 in England or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or 111 if available in your area (currently available in the following health board areas - Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay - including Bridgend) now if you've been:


• to Hubei province in China in the last 14 days

• to Iran, areas of northern Italy in lockdown or "special care zone" areas in South Korea since 19 February

• to other parts of mainland China or South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath

• to other parts of northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar since 19 February and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath

• in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus


Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.


How coronavirus is spread

Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how 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.


How to avoid catching or spreading germs

There are things you can do to help stop viruses like coronavirus spreading.


Do

• 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


Don't

• do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean


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 if you've been to the locations stated in the symptoms section above.


Treatment for coronavirus

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. You'll need to stay in isolation away from other people until you've recovered.


I think I may have come into contact with some who has coronavirus, what should I do?

Health professionals are working to contact anyone who has been in close contact with people who have coronavirus.


But call 111 in England or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or 111 if available in your area (currently available in the following health board areas - Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay - including Bridgend) for advice if you think you've been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus.


Does the new coronavirus only affect older people, or can younger people also get it?

People of all ages can get coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more likely to become severely ill with the virus. People of all ages should follow simple measures to stop viruses like coronavirus spreading, for example by washing their hands often with soap and water.


What does "close contact with someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus" mean?

A confirmed case of coronavirus means someone who has been tested and found to have coronavirus.


Close contact with a confirmed case means:

• living in the same house

• contact with their body fluids

• face-to-face contact, for example talking for more than a few minutes

• being coughed on

• being within 2 metres of the person for more than 15 minutes


Prevention


Are face masks useful for preventing coronavirus?

Face masks play a very important role in places like hospitals, but there is very little evidence of widespread benefit for members of the public.


Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?

There is currently no vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.


Simple hygiene measures like washing your hands with soap and water often, and avoiding people who are unwell, can help stop viruses like coronavirus spreading.


Do vaccines against pneumonia protect against coronavirus?

The COVID-19 coronavirus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.

Although the pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine is not effective against coronavirus, it is still recommended that you have it if offered to you because it can protect against other illnesses.


Can rinsing your nose with saltwater (saline) help prevent coronavirus?

There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saltwater (saline) protects you from coronavirus.


There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing your nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. But regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.


Self-isolation


How should I isolate myself if I think I might have coronavirus?

If there's a chance you could have coronavirus, Call 111 in England or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or 111 if available in your area (currently available in the following health board areas - Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay - including Bridgend) and isolate yourself from other people. This means you should:

• stay at home

• not go to work, school or public areas

• not use public transport or taxis

• ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out 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.


What should I do if I become unwell with possible coronavirus while I'm out and about?

Do not go to a GP surgery or hospital.


If you become unwell in a public place:

1. Try to find a room to isolate yourself away from others. Ask for help if you need to but try to stay at least 2 metres away from other people.

2. Open a window for ventilation if you can, but otherwise touch objects and surfaces as little as possible.

3. Call 111 in England or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or 111 if available in your area (currently available in the following health board areas - Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay - including Bridgend) for advice.


If you become unwell on public transport:

1. Go back to your home or place of residence immediately.

2. Try to avoid close contact with other people and touch objects and surfaces as little as

possible.

3. Call 111 in England or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or 111 if available in your area (currently available in the following health board areas - Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay - including Bridgend) for advice.


Testing and treatment


What will happen if a health professional thinks I could have coronavirus?

If you could have coronavirus, 111 will notify your local health protection team and direct you to your most appropriate testing location.


The health protection team will take some samples to test for coronavirus. This may include samples of:

• mucus from your nose, throat or lungs

• blood

• poo (stool sample).

You may be isolated from other people until it's confirmed if you do or do not have coronavirus.


Can antibiotics treat or prevent coronavirus?

Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus, as they work against bacteria and coronavirus is a virus. But antibiotics may be given to some people with coronavirus because there's a risk the virus may make them more likely to get a bacterial infection as well.

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