As most of you may know, recently there have been considerable media coverage on the Coronavirus disease (more formally known as COVID-19).
This guidance sheet has with steps that you can take to prevent catching the virus, and what precautionary measures you can put in place to prevent the virus from spreading to others.
Coronavirus is a virus that can affect your lungs and airways and commonly presents itself with a cough, shortness of breath and fever. If you have these symptoms, it’s more likely that you have a cold or flu, however, this sheet gives guidance on what to do if you suspect you may be at risk.
If you suspect you have the virus, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.
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How is Coronavirus spread?
Like cold and flu bugs, the 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.
What can you do to reduce the risk of Coronavirus?
To reduce the risk of spreading the virus:
- When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (not your hands as this can spread the virus if you then go onto touch surfaces etc)
- Throw used tissues in the bin
To reduce the risk of catching the virus:
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently throughout the day
- Always have a hand sanitizer gel available to you
- Use anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down your desk
- Don’t touch your nose, eyes, or mouth if your hands are not clean
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
The symptoms of Coronavirus include:
- A cough
- High temperature
- Shortness of breath
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
What should you do if you are showing potential symptoms?
The symptoms of Coronavirus are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as a cold and flu.
However, with cases on the rise, we all have a duty to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the illness.
Government guidelines as of 9:00am on 17th March 2020 are:
- If you live alone and develop symptoms of a fever or persistent cough, you should stay home for 7 days.
- If you live with others and one member of the household develops symptoms of a fever or persistent cough then you should all stay home for 14 days.
- In either of these circumstances you should try to not leave the house at all. You should try to use friends, neighbours and other family members to supply you with the essentials.
- If you do need to go out, then you should limit your contact with others as much as possible.
- If your symptoms get worse or you are no better after 7 days you should seek medical advice.
- As much as possible you should try not to contact the NHS but clearly, this does not mean that you should not seek medical help if you need it. You should use online 111 as much as possible so as to ensure that the resources of the NHS can be used to help those who are the sickest.
What other measures are in place?
As of yesterday (16th March 2020 at 5pm) the other measures that you should follow are:
- Everyone should stop non-essential contact with others.
- People should work from home where they can.
- People should avoid places like pubs, clubs and theatres where there is a high concentration of people in one place.
- People should stop all unnecessary travel.
Those at higher risk
You are also at risk of developing more serious complications if you have certain underlying health conditions such as asthma or another lung condition, a weakened immune system, diabetes or heart disease.
If this applies to you and, if you are comfortable doing so, then you should inform your employer.
If you suspect you have the virus, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Do all you can to take care of yourself at home. If you feel that you cannot cope with the symptoms or that they are worsening then you should seek immediate medical help by either calling NHS 111 or, in case of emergency only, calling 999.
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