attention quickly. attention quickly. attention quickly.
When should I seek medical help?
People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention quickly.
But you should not go out. Instead, you should call NHS 111. Also call NHS 111 if:
How the coronavirus spreads and how to protect yourself
The virus spreads in a similar way to flu or the common cold, in large droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Germs can live on surfaces for several hours.
Public Health England defines having close contact with a virus carrier as being within two metres of the person for 15 minutes.
For people who might have coronavirus, health officials are urging a “catch it, bin it, kill it” approach. In short, this means means catching sneezes and coughs in tissues, throwing them away, and then washing your hands.
Regular hand washing is considered the most important precaution to reduce the chances of contamination from the virus lingering on surfaces.
you think you might have coronavirus:?
in the last 14 days you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus
you’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus
What if I feel fine but have recently returned from a high risk area?
In some cases you may be asked to self-quarantine to protect others even if you do not have symptoms but have travelled to a high risk area.
Use this NHS advice tool to find out what to do to protect yourself and others.
Do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital as if you have the virus you may infect others.
How to ‘self quarantine’ if you think you might have coronavirus
If you think you may have the virus, you should try to isolate or quarantine yourself.
This means you should:
Stay at home
Avoid work, school and other public areas
Avoid public transport and taxis
Get friends and family to delivery food, medicines etc rather than going to the shops
How is the new coronavirus spread and how can I protect myself?
Hand hygiene is the first and most important line of defence.
Like cold and flu bugs, the new virus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The droplets land on surfaces and are picked up on the hands of others and spread further. People catch the virus when they touch their infected hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.
It follows that the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitising gel.
Also try to avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands – something we all do unconsciously on average about 15 times an hour.
Carry a hand sanitiser with you to make frequent cleaning of your hands easy
Always wash your hands before you eat or touch your face
Be especially careful about touching things and then touching your face in busy airports and other public transport systems
Carry disposable tissues with you, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue carefully (catch it, bin it, kill it)
Do not share snacks from packets or bowls that others are dipping their fingers into
Avoid shaking hands or cheek kissing if you suspect viruses are circulating
Regularly clean not only your hands but also commonly used surfaces and devices you touch or handle
Is it just droplets from the nose and mouth that spread the new virus?
Probably not, but they are by far the most common risk.
The NHS and WHO is advising doctors that the virus is also likely to be contained in other bodily secretions including blood, faeces and urine.
Here again, hand and surface hygiene is the key.
How can I protect my family, especially children?
Children are a major vector for the spread of droplet-based viruses because they interact physically so much with each other and are not the best at keeping themselves clean.
The virus appears to impact older people more commonly but children can be infected and they can get severe illness, the government warns.
However, you can greatly lower the risk that children pose of spreading or catching viruses by:
Explaining to them how germs spread and the importance of good hand and face hygiene
Keeping household surfaces clean, especially kitchens, bathrooms, door handles and light switches
Using clean or disposable cloths to wipe surfaces so you don’t transfer germs from one surface to another
Giving everyone their own towel and making sure they know not to share toothbrushes etc
Keep your home dry and airy (bugs thrive in musty environments)
What about face masks – do they work?
Paper face masks are not recommended by Public Health England, the NHS or other major health authorities for ordinary citizens, and with good reason.
They are ill-fitting and what protection they might initially provide soon expires. Worse, they quickly become moist inside, providing the perfect environment for germs to thrive in. They also become a hazard for others if carelessly discarded.
An exception to this would be if you were displaying symptoms such as coughing or sneezing – then a mask may help prevent you spreading the virus to others in busy locations.
Can the new coronavirus be treated?
There is no simple cure for the new coronavirus, just as there is no cure for the common cold.
In the vast majority of cases, the disease is only mild. Symptoms such as fever and general discomfort can be treated with aspirin and ibuprofen, or packaged cold and flu remedies containing the same.
It is in more severe cases, where pneumonia develops, that the danger lies. Viral pneumonia cannot be treated with antibiotics and, for the moment at least, there are no antivirals specific to this particular virus.
Instead doctors focus on supporting patients’ lung function as best they can.They may be given oxygen or placed on a breathing machine (ventilator) in the most severe cases.
Other symptoms such as fever and discomfort will be treated using drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Secondary infections may be treated with antibiotics.
Are some groups of people more at risk than others?
Data from China suggests that people of all ages are at risk of contracting the virus, although older people are more likely to develop serious illness.
People with a reduced chance of surviving pneumonia include:
Those over age 65
Children under the age of two
People with underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system
Of the first 425 confirmed deaths across mainland China, 80 per cent were in people over the age of 60, and 75 per cent had some form of underlying disease.
Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?