During the last few weeks, world media has been covering the subject quite extensively, but what is COVID-19 and what can you do to protect yourself from contracting the virus?
Here is a quick overview on what we know about the coronavirus so far.
What is the coronavirus COVID-19?
The coronavirus COVID-19 is a type of virus. This family of viruses is common across the world and is responsible for a range of respiratory illnesses such as the common cold or more severe ones like MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The new coronavirus, thought to have originated in the Hubei province, China, has been officially called COVID-19.
What are the signs and symptoms of this new virus?
The symptoms of this new virus include fever, coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath, but these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have the illness as they are similar to other illnesses such as cold or flu.
For the most up-to-date NHS recommendation please check the NHS website.
How is the virus spreading?
As it’s a very new virus, there is still more to be discovered about how it spreads from person to person. However, similar viruses spread by cough droplets or sneeze droplets. These can be directly inhaled or picked up on hands and transferred when someone touches their face.
Coronaviruses cannot live outside the body for very long and NHS says that is very unlikely for them to spread through things like packages or food.
How do I avoid catching and spreading the germs?
- cleaning your hands frequently by either washing them with soap and water or by disinfecting them with hand sanitiser
- maintaining social distancing by keeping at least 1 metre (3 feet) between yourself and anyone who is showing any cold-like symptoms
- avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- practicing respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow, sleeve or tissue when coughing or sneezing and putting the tissue in the bin immediately after
How can the coronavirus be treated?
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus and antibiotics don’t help as they don’t work against viruses. Your body has to fight the illness on its own and treatment can be administered to relieve the symptoms only. During treatment and recovery, you’ll also need to stay in isolation to avoid infecting other people.
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute the medical advice from a healthcare professional.