MOST people who get coronavirus will develop mild symptoms and they will be able to stay at home and recover.
They will develop flu-like symptoms which may include a dry cough and a mild fever which might not reach 37.8C.
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Currently, the NHS is urging people not to visit their GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital and to stay at home, to curb the spread of the disease, protect the NHS and save lives.
There is no vaccine to protect people against the virus and doctors say mild or moderate symptoms can be managed at home.
So if you're experiencing the tell-tale signs of Covid-19, what should you do to feel better?
1. Keep hydrated
Drink plenty of fluids to make sure you're keeping hydrated.
Guidelines suggest about two litres per day, but it can vary from person to person, so simply drink when you're thirsty and stop when you feel well hydrated.
You can usually use your urine colour as an indicator of hydration – if it's light yellow or fairly clear then you're well hydrated.
When it's dark yellow or amber then you need to be drinking more water.
The Sun nutritionist Amanda Ursell said: “If it’s pale and clear that’s good. If it’s dark orange and whiffy, you need to drink more.”
Avoid alcohol as this will make you more dehydrated.
2. Take paracetamol
Those with coronavirus can take paracetamol to relieve symptoms caused by infection such as fever.
However, the NHS is currently advising Covid-19 patients not to take ibuprofen.
The health service recently changed its guidance around using the anti-inflammatory to treat coronavirus, amid fears it could make the condition worse.
However, a recent study, led by experts at King's College London, found anti-inflammatories are safe for coronavirus patients to use – but probably won't ease symptoms.
3. Rest and sleep
Sleep is essential in building energy, fixing and repairing your body when you're poorly.
When you have a virus, your body’s immune response will make you sleepy and tired while it does everything it can to fight infection and promote recovery.
If you refuse to give in to the urge to rest and nap, it could prolong the illness, not least because your body needs to break out in a fever in order to fight the virus. And fevers most often occur during sleep.
Don't do any vigorous exercise but if you can try and do some light activity and walk around as this will help you to sleep when you need.
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4. Monitor your symptoms
You should keep an eye on your symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your condition is significantly worsening.
Emergency warning signs include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or bluish lips or face.
If it’s not urgent, you should call your designated medical contact point using the number that has been provided to you.
When it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, inform the call handler or operator that you believe you have Covid-19.
Finally, if you're experiencing fever or a new continuous cough you should self-isolate immediately.
You should separate yourself from other people in your home and stay in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened.
If you live in shared accommodation with a communal kitchen, bathroom and living area, you should stay in your room with the door closed, only coming out when necessary.
You should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household, if available, and avoid using the kitchen while others are present.
When should I see a doctor?
According to Dr Sarah Jarvis, clinical director of Patient Access, there are five key reasons you should get medical attention if you develop signs of Covid-19…
- You are rapidly becoming more breathless, even at rest
- You cannot manage basic things like showering, eating, watching TV or reading
- You start becoming confused
- You cannot speak in whole sentences without taking extra breaths
- You are one of the 1.5 million people who has been advised to "shield" to protect themselves
The Government guidance is that people who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant should be "shielding" themselves.
People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis, cancer patients, those with primary immunodeficiencies and individuals with a severe disease of a body system fall into the "underlying health condition" category.
Dr Jarvis also said that if you’re not sure whether you need to go to hospital, you should speak to a healthcare professional – call NHS 111 or use their online service.
Ultimately, if you’re worried about any symptoms and they’re becoming worse, not better, don’t be afraid to seek help.
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When should I call 999?
For more urgent cases and if you have a medical emergency you should call 999 for an ambulance and notify the operator that you – or the person you're caring for – have or think you might have, Covid-19.
The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) says emergency warning signs for Covid-19 include…
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
Patients who are usually older or have a pre-existing health conditions are normally the people who experience difficulty breathing – known as dyspnea.
Signs that a person is experiencing dyspnea include shortness of breath, feeling smothered or suffocated, tightness in the chest, rapid, shallow breathing, heart palpitations and wheezing.
Patients with severe cases of coronavirus may also develop signs of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
According to the NHS, this is a life-threatening condition where the lungs can't provide the body's vital organs with enough oxygen.
ARDS occurs when the lungs become severely inflamed due to an infection or injury and the inflammation causes fluid from nearby blood vessels to leak into the tiny air sacs in your lungs, making breathing increasingly difficult.
Symptoms of ARDS can include severe shortness of breath, rapid, shallow breathing, tiredness, drowsiness or confusion and feeling faint.
About 15 per cent of coronavirus cases develop this, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Anyone who thinks they’ve been fighting Covid-19 and has symptoms of ARDS should also call an ambulance.
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