The coronavirus had caused worldwide unrest, and there are many questions people ask to help them understand the pandemic and know the recommended ways to protect themselves like getting PCR swab test.
What are coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses which cause illness in humans and animal. Different types of coronaviruses affect humans, causing various respiratory infections ranging from mild conditions like common cold to more severe conditions like Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The novel coronavirus causes COVID-19 disease.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infectious condition caused by contracting the newly discovered coronavirus. The novel coronavirus was discovered after its outbreak in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.
What are COVID-19 symptoms?
COVID-19 has several symptoms but the most common includes:
- The onset of high temperature- this increase in temperature makes the back and chest hot, and there may be no need for temperature measurement.
- The onset of a new and continuous cough – This symptom is characterised by constant coughing for over an hour, or several coughing episodes within 24 hours or more. People who usually have cough may experience worse coughing episodes
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
What should I do If I experience symptoms of COVID-19?
The first thing to do after noticing symptoms of COVID-19 is to stay at home and request a COVID-19 test. You can contact the NHS 111 for advice or information on steps to take. The NHS will tell you whether or not you should contact your private GP and you may need to call your GP for any of the following reasons.
- You have a health condition already
- You have immune system problems
- You thing the symptoms are getting worse, and you cannot cope with them.
Do not visit your GP’s office or an emergency health care facility if you are experiencing symptoms. Ensure you call the clinic first. If your condition needs immediate medical attention, call for an ambulance and ensure you tell the operator about your symptoms.
If your result comes back positive or you are yet to receive the result, ensure you do the following.
- Remain at home for about ten days beginning from when you start noticing the symptoms
- If after the ten days, you do not have a high temperature for about 48 hours, there will be no need to continue self-isolation. However, if your temperature is still high, you need to continue self-isolation until your temperature remains normal for about 48 hours.
- You may not need self-isolation if you have a cough or issues with smelling or tasting things because these symptoms may remain weeks after you a no longer have the virus.
- If anyone in your house has COVID-19, you will need to self-isolate. If the person’s test result comes back positive, every other person in the house, with or without symptoms will have to self-isolate for 14 days, counting from when the infected person started having symptoms.
- If you develop COVID-19 symptoms during the14-day isolation, you will need to stay home for ten days, counting from the onset of your symptoms. This does not include the 14-day isolation.
If your COVID-19 result is negative, you can stop the self-isolation under the following circumstances.
- Everyone one in the same house having symptoms of COVID-19 has a negative test result, however, if someone on your home has a positive result or starts noticing symptoms but has not gotten the test, you will need to continue self-isolation
- You feel well and have not experienced symptoms within the past 48 hours.
If you begin to notice new symptoms or your symptoms get worse, you need to self-isolate and arrange for another test.
What does it mean to self-isolate?
When told to self-isolate, it means you should do the following.
- Remain at home
- Ask your family and friends to help get you essentials like groceries and medication or use a home delivery service if you want to shop for things. Ensure they leave the supplies outside your house.
- Distance yourself from others by staying behind a closed door or leaving a minimum of 2 meters between yourself and others when at home.
- Stay away from people with high-risk for COVID-19 like people with existing health conditions and elderly persons.
- Stay in rooms with good ventilation systems and have a window open to allow fresh air circulate.
- Sleep alone
- Clean your bathrooms by wiping surfaces you contact if you share it with others
- Use a separate towel from people in your house
- Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with clean water and soap
- Stay in touch with friends and family using social media or over the phone.
Things you shouldn’t do while on self-isolation
- Go to public places or work and use public means of transportation
- Share your utensils, beddings and towels with others
- Go outside your house except you have a garden
Is treatment for COVID-19 available?
Presently, there is no specific COVID-19 treatment. Antibiotics may be helpful since they help fight against viruses. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you could do the following at home to helps ease your symptoms.
- Get a lot of rest
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated- this also helps your urine be pale and clear
- Take OTC pain medications like paracetamol to ease the pain, but ensure you stick to the recommended dose.
What should I do to prevent COVID-19 from spreading?
- Wear a face mask when necessary
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing using the crook of your elbow or disposable tissues. Dispose of the tissues in a waste bin and wash your hands immediately
- Practise social distancing by staying at least 2 meters away from others
Should I use a face mask?
Wearing a face mask and any other face covering is essential, especially when it is not possible to practise social distancing.
Is a vaccine available for COVID-19?
For now, no vaccine for COVID-19, but infected persons receive a combination of treatment to relieve the symptoms. If the illness is severe, you may need hospitalisation, and most patients recover from supportive care.
Research is ongoing for vaccines and specific drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. Some are already undergoing clinical trials. WHO is also coordinating developments of medicines and vaccines to treat and prevent COVD-19.
How long can the coronavirus survive on surfaces?
Cleaning surfaces with household disinfectants rid the surface of the coronavirus. Research shows that the coronavirus can remain on stainless steel and plastic surfaces for about 72 hours, while on copper surfaces, it lasts for less than 4 hours, on cardboard, it can survive for less than 24 hours.
Ensure you wash your hands with water and soap, or disinfect your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and keeps your hands off your face.
How does COVID-19 affect pregnant women?
Pregnant women below 28 weeks of gestation are not at risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. However, those at 28 weeks of pregnancy and beyond may have an increased risk of getting sick from coronavirus infection, and this also applies to other viral infections like the flu.
Most pregnant women are likely to experience mild to moderate flu or cold-like symptoms. Pregnant women may also experience loss of sense of smell, headache, fever, and cough. For now, no evidence shows that pregnant women infected with coronavirus would experience more severe complications compared to other healthy persons.
If you notice symptoms of COVID-19, ensure you contact NHS11 for advice and information on contacting your GP. Suppose you are pregnant, and the symptoms become severe. In that case, your recovery takes time, or you do not get better, contact your GP, maternity team or an emergency health care services, but inform the operator of your symptoms.
Health experts advise pregnant women always to practise social distancing, especially those who are at their 28 weeks of gestation or more. Pregnant women who have underlying health issues will be considered individually for possible risk factors.
Is my child at risk of the coronavirus?
A baby can contract the coronavirus after birth if the baby comes in contact with an infected person, regardless of if the child presents symptoms. To minimise the risk of your child contracting COVID-19, you can take the following precautionary measures.
- Take your baby home when the doctor discharges you.
- Do not receive visitors into your house, even your family members
- Remain at home with your baby for about 14 days if anyone in your house notices symptom of COVID-19.
- Do not let your baby contact persons with fever, cough and other symptoms of COVID-19.
If you are concerned about your baby’s health, contact your health care provider.
Can my baby contract the coronavirus through my breastmilk?
For now, no evidence shows that an infected mother can transmit the virus to her baby through breastmilk. However, take the following precautionary measures while breastfeeding.
- Before touching your breast pumps, the feeding bottles or your baby, wash your hand thoroughly.
- Avoid sneezing or coughing while feeding your baby
- Follow the right pump cleaning steps after use
- If you do not feel well, ask any healthy person to feed the baby.
Does my toddler or child still need childhood vaccines?
Your baby or toddler still needs to take their normal vaccines. Immunisation and the routine screening will continue as they should. Vaccinations for children is important to protect them from having serious diseases in the future. When your child is up-to-date on his/her vaccine, it allows the child to interact with other children without the risk of other diseases.
How do I ensure my safety and remain physically active during COVID-19?
Staying active during this pandemic is important. However, if you have an outdoor exercising routine, ensure you stay at least 6 feet (2 metres) away from other people. This advice does not apply to people who have a high risk for COVID-19 and those who live with someone showing symptoms.
Should I perform my grocery shopping differently during COVID-19?
Before leaving your house to chop, ensure you wash your hands thoroughly for about 20 seconds and use a sanitiser to disinfect basket and trolley handles before touching them. Ensure that you keep your hands off your face and stay about 6 feet away from others. If possible, opt for contactless payment for your groceries.
Immediately you get home and after you touch the things you bought, wash your hands thoroughly. Before you eat vegetables and fruits, make sure you wash them properly, but this may not be necessary for other groceries.
Can I visit my dentist?
Most dental clinics may not function as they should during this COVID-19 period, so ensure you call the dental clinic first. When you call your dentist, they will ask you some vital questions to assess your condition like your body temperature or if you have a cough. Your dentist may return your call to advise you on what to do, ask you to visit the clinic or give you a prescription.
Can I visit my optometrist?
Some optometrists still offer healthcare services, but they have changed the way they deliver some services. Most optometrists no longer provide routine examinations in-clinic, but you can contact your optometrist for essential and emergency eye care.
Ensure you call the optometrist first, but you can also visit your local emergency department if you have an emergency eye issue like an eye injury.
Does wearing contact lenses increase my risk of contracting COVID-19?
Presently, no study has found contact lenses to increase the risk of contracting COVID-19 more than people who wear glasses. If you wear contact lenses, ensure you practice safe habits for wearing your lenses like washing your hands with clean water and soap before touching your contact lenses. This also helps to prevent you from transmitting contact lens-related infections.
Is it safe to attend a funeral service?
Some measures and restrictions have been put in place to protect the family and friends of deceased persons. Only the persons below can attend a funeral.
- Household members of the deceased person
- Close members of the family
- If there are no close family or household members, a few friends may attend the funeral.
Most times, the household members of deceased persons are there next of kin who according to safety household guidelines would be self-isolating. If the funeral is scheduled before the person on self-isolation has the isolation period (14 days), interacting with mourners will not be allowed.
People experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or yet to receive their result may not be able to attend their funeral. Suppose the funeral is at a place of worship or a funeral director’s place. In that case, the recommended bodies will assess the place to determine the number of persons to attend the funeral.
People who are attending the funeral need to observe social distancing and wear their face mask. The family can advertise a notice of the funeral online or the newspaper, but not the funeral arrangements.
Can I contract the coronavirus from my pet?
It is unclear whether pets carry the coronavirus on their skin and fur just like other surfaces harbour the virus, however, the WHO advises people to wash their hands with water and soap after touching their pets. To ensure your safety, ensure you wash your hands after you touch your pet and isolate your pet if anyone in your house shows symptoms of COVID-19.