The Actual Symptoms Of Coronavirus And Measures People Can Take To Protect Themselves

Emma Rosemurgey

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The Actual Symptoms Of Coronavirus And Measures People Can Take To Protect ThemselvesPA Images

Social media is rife with myths about what we should and shouldn’t be doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

So much so, it can be hard to know who we should be paying attention to and what precautions we ought to be taking to protect ourselves.

A whole host of bizarre home remedies have popped up all over the place, with some social media posts claiming that eating garlic will protect us against the virus or ice cream, or cigarettes – the list goes on. In France, meanwhile, authorities actually had to release a PSA saying cocaine was not going to protect the public from the virus. Elsewhere, others have claimed drinking ‘miracle minerals’ or consuming ‘drinkable silver’ will kill strains of the virus.

The fact of the matter is, if it’s not coming from a medical professional, you shouldn’t pay any attention.

The World Health Organization (WHO) exists so that in situations such as the coronavirus outbreak, we can work together globally to deal with it as quickly and as effectively as possible.

So, when it comes to cutting through the noise of who and what we should be listening to, the WHO’s list of advice for the public is a pretty good place to start.

Wash your hands

Okay, so this is the piece of advice that has got people talking the most. It might sound obvious, but thoroughly and regularly washing your hands is the best thing you can do to protect yourself against potentially spreading the virus. There has been debate over how long you should wash for – Boris Johnson said 20 seconds per wash and some doctors have said 30 seconds, but as long as you’re thoroughly washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand gel, you should be killing any viruses that could be on your hands.

Keep your distance

If you’ve watched a football match over the last few days, you’ll have noticed they’re no longer shaking their opponents’ hands at the beginning of matches, instead, opting for a friendly nod. Sure, it looks a little bit silly, but that’s because WHO has recommended maintaining social distance. Basically, keep physical contact to a minimum, unless you’ve both washed your hands thoroughly.

The WHO says we should maintain at least one metre of distance between ourselves and anyone who is coughing or sneezing because, when someone sneezes, small liquid droplets leave their nose or mouth, which could potentially contain the virus.

However, it’s important to note you shouldn’t feel scared whenever someone within close proximity sneezes, because sneezing isn’t actually a main symptom of COVID-19. According to the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a fever, a dry cough and difficulty breathing are the main symptoms, while just 5% of those affected find themselves sneezing.

Dr Marta Feldmesser, chief of medicine of infectious diseases at Lenox Hill Hospital, told the New York Post:

Runny nose is rarely a component of the illness. If people start sneezing, that’s not something that should trigger concerns.

Coronavirus Symptoms And Measures to Protect yourselfPA Images

Don’t touch your face

Another piece of advice that’s been grabbing headlines is the suggestion we should avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth, which sounds pretty simple, but it’s not until someone tells you not to do something you actually realise just how often you do it. This is because we use our hands to touch, well, everything, and therefore they can pick up germs and viruses. So, if you then touch your face with contaminated hands, they can transfer viruses that can enter your body and make you ill.

Maintain respiratory hygiene

In addition, if you do find yourself coughing or sneezing, the WHO is reminding everyone to cover your mouth and nose using your bent elbow or a tissue. If you use a tissue, dispose of it immediately afterwards.

Coronavirus Symptoms And Measures to Protect yourselfPA Images

Keep up to date with medical advice

Most importantly, it’s important to stay informed and keep up to date with medical advice from your health care provider. The WHO says national and local authorities have the most up to date information on COVID-19 spreading in your area, and will be the best people to offer advice in your particular region.

Don’t panic

Try not to panic. The fatality rate has been reported at around 3.4%. However, this is based on the number of confirmed cases – there are many unconfirmed, milder cases that would bring this figure down.

According to the WHO, of the 80,000 cases in China, more than 70% of patients have recovered and been discharged. 93% of all cases reported globally are, in fact, from just four countries.

It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our Coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on Coronavirus, click here.

Topics: Cutting Through, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health


The Guardian and 1 other
  1. The Guardian

    Coronavirus facts: what's the mortality rate and is there a cure?

  2. WHO

    WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 9 March 2020

Emma Rosemurgey
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