Coronavirus: What should you do if you have symptoms?

Covid-19 is circulating at the same time as winter coughs, colds and flu, so it can be difficult to tell them apart.

Coronavirus: What should you do if you have symptoms? Getty Images

Coronavirus is circulating at the same time as winter coughs, colds and seasonal flu, so it can be difficult to tell them apart.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The strain of coronavirus, known as Covid-19, often starts with a cough and high temperature.

Other symptoms include a runny nose and shortness of breath.

How is it spread?

Experts believe the virus is spread in cough and sneeze droplets.

The virus can survive on surfaces for several hours, but it is unclear exactly how long for.

Government scientists say a small proportion of people will pass on the virus while having no symptoms themselves.

What steps can I take to protect myself?

Wash your hands with soap and hot water more often. Do this for at least 20 seconds each time.

The NHS says people should also wash their hands when they get home or arrive at work.

Hand sanitiser can be used if soap is not available.

Anyone with coughs and sneezes should catch them in a tissue, which is then put in a bin. Wash your hands afterwards.

People should also avoid close contact with people who are unwell, and avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth if their hands are not clean.

Should I avoid public places?

Most people can continue to go to work, school and other public places.

The current Government advice states mass events and public gatherings should not be cancelled, and people should continue to act normally for now.

People only need to stay at home and self-isolate if they are advised to do so by 111 or a health professional.

How will I know if it is coronavirus or just a cold?

You will not always be able to tell. For the vast majority of people, coronavirus will result in mild to moderate symptoms, ranging from a few sniffles to needing to rest.

People who have returned in the last 14 days from countries or regions with a high risk of coronavirus should call 111 if they develop symptoms.

Anyone who has been in close contact with a person confirmed to have the virus should also call 111.

How do I self-isolate if I am asked to?

If you are told to self-isolate, you should stay at home and not go to work, school or public places.

You should also not use public transport such as trains or buses, or take taxis.

You should try to avoid close contact with family members and do not have visitors to your home.

However, it is fine for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.

Are there any treatments?

Not at the moment though scientists are working round the clock to develop some.

Antibiotics will not help as they do not work against viruses.

In most cases, the body will fight off coronavirus itself.

Can I get a coronavirus test?

People who have recently travelled to affected countries or who have been in close contact with known cases can be tested.

Call 111 and a health professional could be sent to your home with a test kit. You should stay at home while the results are processed.

The Government is working on more widespread at-home testing, enhanced hospital testing and drive-through testing, though not all of this is yet in place

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