Coronavirus - COVID-19 For Patients

Everything you need to know about Coronavirus COVID-19

The timeline of coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • 30 January 2020, coronavirus was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
  • 11 February 2020, World Health Organisation (WHO) named coronavirus: COVID-19.
  • 11 March 2020, WHO categorised COVID-19 as a pandemic.
  • 16 March 2020, UK infection rates: 1543 positive tests for coronavirus.

Where did the coronavirus originate from?

Coronavirus is part of a group of viruses that start in animals and then jump into humans. The original source of COVID-19 is linked to bats which could have then infected other animals and then passed to humans.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

Initial symptoms can start up to 10 days after infection with COVID-19.

Symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • Temperature over 37.5C (99.5F)
  • Newly developed, consistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure
  • Septic shock, causing blood pressure to drop or an increase in lactic acid present in the body
  • Multiple organ failure

For help and information about symptoms, please visit the official resource of the NHS: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/.

What is the difference between the coronavirus and the common flu?

Symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are very similar, especially if you have flu and a chest infection. Both can cause pneumonia and fatalities. The most noticeable difference between coronavirus and flu is the higher mortality rate. The mortality rate of COVID-19 is currently estimated between 1% and 3%,  rising in the elderly or individuals with underlying health conditions.  

Can coronavirus spread in the air (airborne)?

Evidence to date shows that it is unlikely coronavirus is airborne. Research to date has indicated COVID-19 is spread if you come into close contact with droplets containing the infection, from someone with the coronavirus.

How do you protect yourself from coronavirus (COVID-19)?

  • Wash hands thoroughly for a minimum of 20 seconds as often as possible. Preferably after travelling, before eating, when you arrive at work and when you get home and of course after going to the toilet.
  • Soap and water is the best defence against the spread of coronavirus, however if not available use a hand sanitiser.
  • Use tissues to cover your mouth when sneezing or to blow your nose and dispose of immediately. If you do not have a tissue sneeze into the crook of your elbow facing away from other individuals wherever possible, use sanitiser and wash your hands with soap and water at the earliest opportunity.
  • Try to maintain a distance of 3 feet from other individuals.

What should you do if you think you may have the coronavirus?

  • Self-isolate for a minimum of fourteen days or until all symptoms have disappeared.
  • Do not go to your pharmacy, GP, walk-in centres or hospital, call 111 if you need advice.
  • Monitor your symptoms and if they get significantly worse or you are struggling for breath call 111 for advice.

Can I have a test for the coronavirus?

The UK have a prototype laboratory test and health professionals have been told to submit samples from individuals that have been in contact with infected individuals or have been in an affected area. Priority for testing is being offered to individuals in hospitals, health care settings and care homes.

Can I pay for a private test for coronavirus?

There are private clinics offering private testing, however these tests have not been approved by PHE and should only be used as pre-screening tests.

Is treatment available for coronavirus?

Currently there has not been an effective treatment for the coronavirus.

Treatment in hospital is aimed at treating pneumonia that has developed due to the virus and reducing serious symptoms of respiratory failure with  the use of ventilators.

How can I get up to date information about the coronavirus?

Information about the coronavirus is rampant on the internet, for accurate information about the spread and treatment of coronavirus the UK government has provided a number of online resources including:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/health-secretary-announces-strengthened-legal-powers-to-bolster-public-health-protections-against-coronavirus

Should I avoid travel at the moment? 

Travel should be avoided where possible, especially if you are elderly or have any underlying health issues. If you have booked to travel abroad you should check:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Entry restrictions in all countries and territories can be checked at:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Cruises should be avoided especially if you are over 70 or have underlying health conditions, for more information about going on a cruise and what would happen if there is an outbreak of the coronavirus on board:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cruise-ship-travel

For information about purchasing travel insurance:

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-qa/

Should I wear a facemask?

Wearing a standard facemask will not prevent you from catching the coronavirus. The purpose of facemasks is to prevent individuals who may have coronavirus spreading it and you should only wear a facemask to protect others from droplets that released when you cough or sneeze. It is essential to maintain good hand washing and immediately dispose of masks that have been coughed or sneezed into, when you take them off.

For more information about wearing masks from the World Health Organisation (WHO)

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

Is my unborn baby at risk of corona virus?

In China in February there has been one recorded case of a pregnant women with coronavirus giving birth to a baby later diagnosed with coronavirus COVID-19.

Researchers cannot confirm if the virus was passed on in the womb or if the baby caught the virus after being born.

Consultant Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on Doctify have these recommendations:

https://www.doctify.com/uk/blog/posts/pregnancy-covid-19-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know

https://www.doctify.com/uk/blog/posts/birth-coronavirus-covid-19-how-it-affects-your-pregnancy

Official Guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists can be found here:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

Who is most at risk from the virus?

  • Pregnant women
  • Elderly, especially individuals over 70
  • Individuals with underlying health conditions
cough-coronavirus

Checklist for items required when self-isolating

Food, dried and tinned food can provide sufficient nourishment for 14 days or longer

Medications, make sure you have 2 week’s worth of prescription medications and painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen for treating symptoms

Essentials, ensure you have enough toothpaste, soap, washing powder and cleaning materials.

What support is available for individuals with mental health issues?

There are various charities that provide mental health support, do not feel ashamed to reach out if you need help with increased levels of anxiety.

For further resources and help:

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak

https://www.rethink.org/news-and-stories/blogs/2020/03/managing-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/


More of our resources when it comes to Coronavirus COVID-19:

How can Coronavirus COVID-19 affect anxiety and depression?

Pregnancy & Coronavirus COVID-19: What you need to know

Having a baby during Coronavirus COVID-19

Diabetes & Coronavirus COVID-19