What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. For most people, it causes mild to moderate symptoms and they’ll recover without needing treatment. But some people may become seriously ill, especially those with underlying health conditions.
What are the mild COVID-19 symptoms?
Many people who have COVID-19 will have no symptoms at all (asymptomatic). People who experience mild symptoms are likely to have a fever, dry cough, lose their sense of taste or smell and feel tired.
Less common symptoms include aches and pains, blocked nose, sore throat and diarrhoea.
What are the severe COVID-19 symptoms?
Severe symptoms of COVID-19 include difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure. COVID-19 can also be a cause of death.
How does COVID-19 spread and how is it caught?
COVID-19 is mainly caught by breathing in droplets an infected person spreads when they cough or sneeze. It can also be caught by touching infected surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
How can I prevent catching COVID-19?
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by keeping your hands clean. This means regularly washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or cleaning them with a 70% alcohol-based sanitiser.
Social distancing from people outside of your household/bubble and self-isolating if you have symptoms will also help protect you and those around you. For more info please visit the Government’s dedicated COVID-19 advice pages.
How is COVID-19 treated?
If you have COVID-19 and are self-isolating you can ease your symptoms by:
- getting lots of rest
- drinking plenty of water
- taking paracetamol to lower your temperature.
If your symptoms get worse it’s important you get medical advice, either by calling your GP or ringing NHS 111.There’s no specific treatment available for COVID-19. But care you receive in hospital will help relieve symptoms and support your body in its fight against the virus.
Why is testing for COVID-19 important?
Because COVID-19 can cause varied symptoms or even no symptoms at all, it's difficult to diagnose without testing. Testing can also help the government understand the levels of the virus around the country.
How to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
It’s always important to look after yourself both physically and mentally, but even more so during a pandemic. For advice on how to prevent catching COVID-19, self isolation and what to do if you or anyone in your household/bubble displays symptoms, visit the government guidance pages.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, especially when seeing our family and friends isn’t as easy as it used to be. We’ve created some helpful advice on coping with stress in the pandemic or you can visit the NHS’ Every Mind Matters website for practical advice on looking after your mental health.