Dr Philippa Kaye is a GP who also writes for the My Weekly Specials. Every month she advises readers on a range of health topics she has seen in her surgery.
Things you need to know about coronavirus…
- Covid-19 is a coronavirus – it’s actually quite similar to other coronaviruses which cause simple coughs and colds.
- It is a new virus, and in the majority of people it causes mild to moderate symptoms, before the person recovers.
- A minority of people become more seriously unwell, and sadly some pass away from the infection.
Symptoms to look out for
The latest guidance says that if you have:
- a fever (a body temperature of over 37.8ºC),
- a new, persistent cough, or
- anosmia, which is a loss of your sense of smell, often accompanied by a loss of your sense of taste
then you should stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days.
What if you have symptoms and live with other people?
- In this situation, other members of your household should stay at home for 14 days.
- If they develop symptoms – be they on day 3 or day 14 of the isolation – they need to remain home for a further 7 days.
- If you are fever-free after 7 days then you may go out. If you continue to have a temperature, you should not.
- A cough, or loss of smell may persist for a few weeks.
- Other symptoms can include fatigue, which can be debilitating, aches and pains, headaches and diarrhoea.
Keep your distance – still!
Everyone should be practising social distancing – staying at home as much as possible and keeping 2 metres apart when going out to exercise.
At the time of writing it is permissible to
- leave your house multiple times a day for exercise
- meet with one other person from a different household, outside – eg to exercise 2m apart.
- For example, you could meet a parent and go for a walk as long as you keep 2m away.
Testing and research
- The test, track and trace programme has just started. If you have symptoms you request a test; if positive, you will be asked to give details of your contacts in the last few days so they can be contacted and asked to isolate for 14 days.
- Viral swabs are now available to anyone who is displaying symptoms. The swab is taken from your throat and nostrils and the result tells you if you have the virus currently.
- Two antibody tests have been approved by Public Health England, though at the time of writing these are not yet available on the NHS.
- Research is being carried out into a vaccine, but this is unlikely to be available in the next few months.
Coronavirus has undoubtedly changed all our worlds – but remember for most people, the disease is mild and you recover completely.