This is a new illness similar to the flu but said to be 10 times more powerful, that can affect your lungs and airways. Known as coronavirus, or COVID-19.
The illness was recently declared by the world health organisation (WHO) , as a pandemic.
General symptoms of coronavirus to look out for are the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
Having those symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you have coronavirus, as these symptoms are almost identical to that of the common cold or flu.
How it spreads
As this is an extremely new illness at its very early stages, it is still hard to determine exactly how coronavirus spreads from one person to the next. However, it is thought that it can be spread from simply coming into contact with someone carrying the illness. As well as being similar to viruses like flu or cold, in which it is spread from droplets from sneezing or saliva.
Warning - recently, it has been suggested that the coronavirus bacteria can live on surfaces, staying active for up to 48 hours.
How can we best avoid catching coronavirus
- Wash your hands with soapy water for no less than 20 seconds
- Wash your hands as much as possible, especially when leaving or entering the house, workplace, or any other public area
- Using hand sanitizer as well as or in place of soap and water if they are not available
- Covering the face, with emphasis on the nose and mouth
- Try to cover your face whenever you feel a cough or sneeze coming, doing this with a tissues or cloth, NOT your hands
- Avoid contact with people that appear sick or unwell
- Avoid touching areas of your face such as eyes, nose and mouth if your haven’t first cleaned your hands
What to do if you suspect you might have coronavirus
- Stay home and avoid any close contact with anyone
- Do NOT visit your GP, hospital or pharmacy
- Instead, if you are in the UK, contact the NHS by using the 111 online coronavirus service, here you can find out exactly what to do next. The 111 service will instruct you on whether you need to continue to self-isolate, or if you need further medical help.
For the NHS 111 coronavirus service - Click here