Most frequent questions and answers

The symptoms for coronavirus are similar to other much more common illnesses, such as cold and flu, and can be easily confused. Those concerned by coronavirus should look out for:

• a high temperature

• a dry cough

• shortness of breath

Most people recover from coronavirus quickly after a few days’ rest.

For some people, particularly those in the high-risk category which includes older individuals and those with underlying health conditions, it can be more severe. In rare cases, it may cause a life-threatening pneumonia.

Having a pre-existing health condition doesn’t make you more likely than anyone else to contract coronavirus, but it appears that people who are older, have weakened immune systems and have underlying chronic conditions are more at risk of severe effects.

Because Coronavirus is a new illness, we don’t know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person; however similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. It’s very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.

Regular handwashing with soap for 20 seconds (or hand sanitiser if soap is not available) is critical in protecting yourself and others from the virus.

Other advice includes social distancing, covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, avoiding close contact with others particularly in crowded areas, and avoiding enclosed spaces such as public transport and social gatherings.

You should stay at home for 14 days if you have either:

• A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
• A new continuous cough – you’ve started coughing repeatedly

You should do this regardless of your travel history or contact with confirmed cases.

It is important to note that coronavirus can be contracted by physical contact or through airborne droplets that are released into the air when you cough. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to develop, so you may be carrying the virus without knowing for a period of time.

If you have these symptoms, you should stay away from vulnerable people, such as the elderly, those who are pregnant and/or have underlying health conditions.

You should:
• not go to work if you develop symptoms while at home, and should notify your line manager immediately
• self-isolate and immediately inform your line manager if symptoms develop while at work
• refer to the stay at home guidance

You can return to work:

• on day 8 after the onset of symptoms of (continuous cough or fever) – if clinical improvement has occurred and your temperature has dropped back to normal
• if a cough is the only persistent symptom by day 8 (as often a cough will linger after the virus has left your system)

You do not need to contact NHS111 in order to go into self-isolation. Most members of the public will recover during time spent resting at home.
If your symptoms get worse during home isolation or you feel no better after 7 days, you should contact NHS111 online. You should only call NHS111 if you can’t get online.

The best way to stop the spread of viruses such as the coronavirus is through a collaborative approach to social distancing and self-isolation.

• 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 thoroughly 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
• Spend time in large groups of friends or family, or invite others into your home if you or they show symptoms

If you have more serious symptoms which you can’t manage at home, contact NHS111 online. You should only ring NHS111 if you can’t get online.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) causes a respiratory illness and can affect anyone, but people with pre-existing health problems, who are pregnant and older people are thought to be at higher risk of developing severe symptoms. People with the following are considered to be in a high risk group:

• Asthma
• Diabetes
• Respiratory condition
• Cardiac disease
• Immune-suppression

If you are pregnant, you are also considered to be in a high risk group

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