Health advice

How serious is COVID-19?

The evidence shows us that the vast majority of people who get this virus have relatively mild symptoms and make a full recovery. But in a small percentage of cases, the virus can cause more severe symptoms. This is particularly true for people with a weakened immune system, older people, and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. 

 

What are the symptoms?

If you are infected you may have very minor symptoms, minor symptoms or more severe symptoms, but the NHS cites two symptoms to look out for as:

  • A new continuous cough
  • A fever or high temperature

 

What should I do if I have either of the above symptoms?

Don't go to your local hospital, call, or go to your GP,  or call the NHS’ 111 device service. Instead, isolate yourself at home immediately for 7 days. If you live with others, you should all isolate yourselves at home for 14 days. This 14-day period starts from the day the first person in the home noticed the symptoms. The evidence suggests that staying at home for 14 days significantly reduces the number of people in the community that will become infected with the virus.For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

If at-risk people share your home - such as those who are older and those with underlying health conditions - it is advisable for them to move out, and stay with friends or family for the whole isolation period. They need to minimise contact with others during this period whether or not they are able to move out.

For further information read this government advice on staying at home and isolating visit here.

 

What should I do if self-isolation is difficult?

  • If you can't manage with your symptoms at home, or
  • If your conditions get worse, or
  • If your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Then you should use the online 111 service at https://111.nhs.uk/. Only if you can't use the online service should you call 111

 

How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?

Scientists think the virus spreads via droplets from coughs and sneezes and we know it spreads easily and can stay on surfaces for a while. It's possible that a lot of us will get it and be affected by it, but if you follow the advice below you will reduce your risk and the risk to others.

  • Avoid non-essential contact with others - work from home if you can, avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and mass gatherings
  • Wash your hands - with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing
  • Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately
  • Don't touch your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you  - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, door handles, etc.
  • Isolating yourself
  • Stay at home for 7 (individual) or 14 (group) days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
  • Ask for help - if you find it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
  • Keep your distance - keep 2 metres (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full period - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital
  • Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
  • Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps
  • Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol if you need to
  • Keep cleaning - so you keep surfaces clean
  • Reduce contact with at risk people - people over 70, women who are pregnant and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk - help keep them safe.

You can keep up-to-date with government information about coronavirus (COVID-19) by signing up for regular alerts, by clicking here.

 

Guidance for vulnerable people

Those being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract coronavirus should stay at home to protect themselves. This includes:

  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
  • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
  • people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
  • people with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell disease)
  • people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • women who are pregnant and who also have significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

The government is working with a partnership of the groceries industry, local government, local resilience and emergency partners, and voluntary groups, to ensure that essential items can start to be delivered as soon as possible to those who need it. 

The people identified as the most vulnerable in their communities will be contacted directly – including in person where necessary – as a priority. 

 

Advice on guidance for food businesses can be found here.

Advice on guidance for vulnerable people and young people can be found here.