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Symptoms of COVID-19 and how the virus spreads


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
•   Fever
•   Flu-like symptoms, such as coughing or sneezing
•   Difficulty breathing, which may develop into pneumonia
•   Sore throat
•   Fatigue

Emergency symptoms
  • Feels like the airway is closing off and breathing has changed or become noisy, having difficulty swallowing saliva or unable to drink a glass of water
  • So breathless that you are unable to speak in sentences ?
  • Unconscious or drowsy ?
  • Skin turning blue or pale ?
  • Skin feels unusually cold and sweaty ?, patchy discoloration or excessively pale skin.
People at most risk of serious infection include:
  • Those with compromised immune systems
  • Elderly people
  • People with diagnosed chronic medical conditions (e.g. lung conditions)
  • Babies and very young children
How does the coronavirus spread?
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person to person through:
  • Direct contact with a person while they are infectious, including 24 hours before they become unwell
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who does not take appropriate precautions when coughing or sneezing
  • Touching contaminated objects or surfaces (such as door-knobs or tables) and then touching the mouth or face

Practise simple hygiene by:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (e.g. before and after eating, and after going to the toilet)
  • Cover your cough with (or sneeze into) a tissue and dispose of it straight away; wash your hands afterwards
  • Cough or sneeze into your (flexed) elbow
  • Cough away from other people
  • Stay more than 1.5 metres away from people when out in public, if possible

Can you boost your immune system against the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

You might feel a little powerless, but there are a few things you can do to help strengthen your immune system and help protect yourself from many types of viruses.

Get more sleep
Sleep is important for your immune system. Research shows that sleep-deprived people can have suppressed immunity, meaning that they're more at risk of catching viruses.

Clean your phone
As well as keeping you up at night, your phone may also transfer germs.So you should disinfect the your mobile phone regularly with a cleaning product that is 70% ethanol.

Wash your hands regularly
Washing your hands regularly with plenty of soap and water for at least 20 seconds — or using an alcohol-based hand rub if soap isn't available — is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Should you wear a face mask?
If you’re feeling anxious you might be considering wearing a face mask for protection. But face masks are not recommended for the general population. Only people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who are caring for a person with suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 need to wear a disposable (surgical) face mask.
How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
Your doctor (GP) or the medical staff at a hospital emergency department may take swabs from the back of your nose and throat, or fluid from your lungs, to diagnose your illness. Swabs and fluid are sent to public health laboratories for testing for COVID-19.

How is COVID-19 treated?
There is no specific treatment for people who have COVID-19. Confirmed cases will be isolated to help avoid spreading the disease to others.Early diagnosis and general supportive care are important. Most of the time, symptoms will go away on their own. People who have a serious infection, with complications such as pneumonia, can be cared for in hospital.

How long does a COVID-19 infection last?
The duration of a COVID-19 infection varies from person to person. If you are otherwise healthy, mild symptoms may go away after just a few days. If you have other health problems, such as a lung or heart condition, recovery may take weeks. In really severe cases, COVID-19 can be fatal.

How soon after infection do COVID-19 symptoms appear?
In most cases, it takes up to 14 days for symptoms to appear after a person has been infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19). The period is also known as the ‘incubation period’.

Can a person transmit the coronavirus to others before symptoms appear?
Yes, it appears transmission can take place at least 24 hours before any symptoms appear. It's still being investigated, but evidence suggests that a person can spread COVID-19 infection from about 1 day before they first develop symptoms, until up to 1 day after the symptoms stop.

For how long can a person spread the coronavirus to other people?
The length of time during which a person remains infectious (and can spread the COVID-19 infection to others) is not yet entirely known. However, some evidence suggests that a person can spread the infection from about a day before they first develop symptoms until up to one day after their symptoms are gone.

How long can the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 survive on surfaces?
It’s currently uncertain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. This means it can survive on surfaces for a few hours or, under some circumstances, for up to several days. This could depend on which type of surface it is, or on the temperature or level of humidity of the environment.

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Wash your hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

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