COVID-19: Information & Advice
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China. It is a new respiratory illness which affects lungs and airways that has not previously been seen in humans. Generally, COVID-19 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.
The latest information and advice on COVID-19 can be found here.
Main COVID-19 symptoms
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a high temperature - you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough - you have been 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)
- 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
Most people with COVID-19 have at least 1 of these symptoms.
What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms
It is no longer a legal requirement to test and isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms. However, you are still advised to do so.
Most people can no longer get a free COVID-19 test on the NHS, but you can find out how to get one here.
Please use the NHS 111 online COVID-19 service for advice if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
You DO NOT need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Please DO NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Advice for people at high risk from COVID-19
If you're at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, there are extra things you should do to avoid catching it.
- not leaving your home – you should not go out to do shopping, visit friends or family, or attend any gatherings
- avoiding close contact with other people in your home as much as possible - stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away
- Please read the full GOV.UK guidance on shielding & protecting yourself if you're at high risk from COVID-19.
Ask friends, family or neighbours to pick up shopping and medicines for you. They should leave them outside your door.
Who is at high risk from COVID-19?
You may be at high risk from COVID-19 if you:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having certain types of cancer treatment
- have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
- are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
- are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
How to avoid catching & spreading COVID-19
It's very important to do what you can to reduce the risk of you and other people getting ill with coronavirus.
You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:
Treatment for COVID-19
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.
If you have a high temperature, it can help to:
- get lots of rest
- drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear
- take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable
Is it safe to take ibuprofen if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
There have been some news reports of anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, making coronavirus worse.
The Commission on Human Medicines has now confirmed there is no clear evidence that using ibuprofen to treat symptoms such as a high temperature makes coronavirus worse.
You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat symptoms of coronavirus. Try paracetamol first if you can, as it has fewer side effects than ibuprofen and is the safer choice for most people.
Always follow the instructions that come with your medicine.
Looking after your health and wellbeing
To help yourself stay well while you're at home:
- stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media
- try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
- do light exercise at home, or outside
- drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
For more advice, see:
- Every Mind Matters: 10 tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus.
- Every Mind Matters: how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home.
- Strength and flex exercises you can do at home.
Advice for parents during COVID-19
For more advice, see:
Advice for pregnant women during COVID-19
For more advice, see:
What to do if you need medical help for another reason
If you need medical help not related to COVID-19, DO NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
- For health information and advice, use the NHS website, call you GP surgery, or use your GP surgery website.
- For urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you're unable to get help online.
- For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.
Last updated: May 9th, 2022
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