Frequently Asked Questions about Coronavirus

There is a lot of confusion around Coronavirus and what people should, or should not, be doing. Below are some of the commonly asked questions together with advice as to where to go if they need further information.
Graphic - Coronavirus with Healthwatch apostrophe

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

  • A new, persistent cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

When do symptoms show? It appears that most people who develop symptoms do so on or around day five. Anyone who is symptom-free by day 12 is unlikely to get symptoms, but they may still be infectious carriers. Does everyone show symptoms? Experts believe most people who get the infection will only have mild symptoms. Some will be asymptomatic, i.e. carry the virus but experience no symptoms.

What do I do if I think you might have coronavirus?

Stay at home If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild stay at home for 7 days if you have either: a high temperature or a new continuous cough. This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

If you have mild symptoms do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. The NHS will not be testing those who are self-isolating with mild symptoms. Stay at home guidance is available from the goverment:

Stay at home advice 

Particular care to minimise social contact has been recommended for:

  • People over the age of 70
  • Other adults who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine (such as those with chronic diseases)
  • Pregnant women

What do I do if my symptoms worsen? 

If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. In summary contact NHS 111 if: you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Protecting yourself and others How can I avoid catching or spreading coronavirus? 

Do the following more often than usual:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available 
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze 
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • If possible, stay away from work if you feel unwell.

Is there a specific treatment for coronavirus? 

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus. Current treatment options aim to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness. You are advised to stay in isolation and away from other people until you’ve recovered.

Do I need antibiotics? 

Antibiotics do not help They do not work against viruses.

Seeing my GP /doctor /dentist Should I still visit my GP?

 Do not visit your GP if you have symptoms of coronavirus. For other conditions or medical checks etc, you may be able to arrange to have a telephone or online consultation instead. Call your GP practice and ask.

Should I still attend my dental appointment? 

Please call your dental practice to check, or look online, and follow their advice.

Should I still attend the hospital if I have an appointment booked? 

Yes. Hospitals and services are running as normal, please do attend your planned appointment as usual. The hospital will notify you should they need to change your appointment. If you find that your planned ‘village car service‘ or ‘community transport’ option is no longer available, give us a call on: 07857 036 292 or 01275 851 400

Should I visit the Accident and Emergency department? 

Do not visit the Emergency Department at the hospital if you have symptoms of coronavirus. Follow the advice above if you have symptoms.

NHS 111 has advised me to attend A&E, where do I go? 

Following national guidance all hospitals are putting in place NHS 111 pods at their emergency departments, so that anyone attending hospital with symptoms of the virus can be kept isolated from other patients and avoid causing unnecessary pressure in A&E. Please follow the signs that are in place.

If you have any questions or concerns or require this information in any other format then please get in touch

07857 036 292 or 01275 851 400

contact@healthwatchnorthsomerset.co.uk

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