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How serious is COVID-19?
The evidence shows us that the vast majority of people who get this virus have relatively mild symptoms and make a full recovery. But in a small percentage of cases, the virus can cause more severe symptoms. This is particularly true for people with a weakened immune system, for older people and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
A lot of false information about this virus is being shared - it’s very important that you make sure that the information you use comes from a trusted source - all of the information on this page has been sourced from the NHS.
How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?
Scientists are not yet 100% certain about how this virus spreads but it's likely it's via droplets from coughs and sneezes. The virus spreads easily and can stay on surfaces, it's possible that a lot of us will get it and be affected by it, but if you follow the advice below you will reduce your risk and the risk to others.
- Clean hands - wash hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing
- Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately
- Don't touch your face - keep your hands away from your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, handles...
- Avoid ill people - stay away from people who have symptoms
What are the symptoms?
If you are infected you may have very minor symptoms, minor symptoms or more severe symptoms, but the NHS cites two symptoms to look out for as:
- A new continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A fever or high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
What should I do if I have either of the above symptoms?
- Protect others - don't call NHS 111
- Protect others - don't call, or go to your GP
- Protect others - don't go to your local hospital
Isolate yourself immediately
- You are, or become, unable to manage with your symptoms at home
- Your conditions get worse
- Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
You should use the online 111 service or if you can't use the online service call 111
- Stay at home for 7 days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
- If you live with others - they will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Ask for help - if you're finding it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your local community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
- Keep your distance - keep 2 metres (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full 7 days - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital. Stay at home
- Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
- Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps minimise the spread
- Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol
- Keep cleaning - keeping surfaces clean helps minimise the spread
- Avoid people at risk - people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions are more likely to be affected help keep them safe