COVID-19 Basics: Looking after yourself

The rapid spread of coronavirus has made everyone think carefully about every day activities and how to behave. The virus causes infection of the respiratory tract and although some patients have no symptoms, around half have a dry cough and fever.

Some people feel short of breath and this is a sign that you should seek medical advice.

The disease can progress quickly, so if you feel more breathless, for example walking or climbing stairs then you should seek urgent medical help. The shortness of breath is a sign that you may have develop a pneumonia and this must be treated in hospital

The virus particles are spread in droplets especially by coughing or sneezing, or left on surfaces. The spread is not airborne - in other words the particles don't float about in the air, and that is why social isolation and keeping a distance of 6 feet from other people reduces the risk of spread.

Everyone should take care to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds. If that is not possible then use alcohol based hand sanitiser.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your unwashed hands. It is easy to pick up virus particles from hard surfaces where they can survive for 3 days.

Use disposable tissues if you sneeze or blow your nose and dispose of them straight away. If you sneeze do so into the crook of your elbow and away from people.

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