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The World Health Organization has recently declared a global emergency in relation to coronavirus, also referred to as novel coronavirus or Covid-19. To date, 76,000 have been affected and sadly over 2,000 have died as a result. And whilst the vast majority of cases have been reported in China, the UK government has declared that the coronavirus is a ‘Serious and imminent threat to public health’ here in Britain.
It is therefore understandable that many of our patients may be worried, so to help, YourGP’s Medical Director Lyndsey Myskow answers some of your most common questions below. Her best advice – ‘Don’t panic but arm yourself with the facts and stay vigilant.’
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Early symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to the flu – it seems to first manifest itself through a fever which is then followed by a dry cough. You may also experience headaches and sneezing. After roughly a week, sufferers report feeling a shortness of breath. In more severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Who is most at risk?
Coronavirus has the potential to affect anyone but the sick and elderly are particularly vulnerable and are most at risk of suffering the more severe sequences.
What is the best way to protect myself from coronavirus?
Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine to protect against coronavirus. However, there are things you can do to help stop the virus spreading:
Are surgical face masks effective at stopping the spread of the virus?
Although sales of surgical face masks have soared in recent weeks in response to the outbreak, most medical professionals would agree that wearing them will do little to limit the spread of the virus. This is for three key reasons:
How is coronavirus treated?
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus itself, instead the current treatment aims to relieve the symptoms whilst your body fights the infection.
What is ‘self-isolation’?
If there is a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to isolate yourself to limit the spread of the virus. This means that for up to 14 days you should:
What should I do if I suspect I have coronavirus?
If you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and you have recently travelled to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand, or you have been in contact with someone who has recently visited any of these locations, it is vital that you do not visit the YourGP practice as this may put others at risk. Instead, is essential you contact NHS 24 immediately by calling 111.
All my needs, including requests for appointments and treatment enquiries, were met with enthusiasm and sense of wanting to help. No question seemed inappropriate or trivial.