Is it COVID or something else? Don't panic, DON'T PANIC

We’ve all coughed and thought… “Oh no, this is it, I’ve contracted the virus.” With the words “Covid”, “Corona”, and “Pandemic” plastered everywhere we look for the past two months, it’s impossible not to worry about your health. Not to sound like the guy from Dad’s Army but… “Don’t panic, DON’T PANIC!”. 

Sure, we’re worried about our older family members and vulnerable friends contracting the virus but it’s not a case of “taking one for the team”. If you, a fit and healthy person, catch the virus you will:

  1. Risk spreading it to others, including vulnerable people, while you’re contagious
  2. Feel really rubbish for a while 
  3. Not be able to help those in need (see points 1 & 2)  

Get your facts straight

We have to stay calm, accept that this is happening and not hide from bad news, while at the same time ensuring that negative news we do hear is legitimate and not just pessimistic forecasting. We can concentrate on working away and trying to keep the economy going. But if we’re trying to work while believing every horrible headline that pops up on our phones or social media, we’re not going to get much done, are we? 

None of us can control the media scaremongering but what we can control is our own personal knowledge of the situation. As well as stopping the spread of the virus we have to stop the spread of mental health damaging rumours. In order to be aware of what’s happening but not spiral into negativity make sure you - 

  • Only read news articles from credible sources 
  • Try not to second guess or speculate 
  • Stay informed with World Health Organisation facts and Government issued guidelines

How do I keep myself, friends and family safe? 

The guidelines on how to protect yourself from coronavirus are very much the same as how you would protect yourself if someone in your household had a common cold that you don’t want to catch. If you’re not used to washing your hands, or tend to forget when you’re busy, try to think of it as if you've touched raw chicken. We all know to prevent the risk of salmonella; you must wash your hands after cutting raw chicken. So think of that parcel you took in from the delivery driver, or that bag of pasta you picked up at the shop, as raw chicken and give your hands a wash.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, going to the bathroom, and definitely before eating or preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you’re sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.

Lockdown, stay at home

The best way to stop the virus spreading is to stop moving around and stay indoors. You should only leave your home for very limited purposes and when you do you must comply with the 2m distance rule from anyone not in your household:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home. 

What are the symptoms?

Unfortunately Covid has come along at the time of year when the flu and allergens are normally causing people problems. So how do we tell what are signs of the virus and what are just our standard allergies without using NHS resources? 

We have been told not to leave our houses if we have either of the following: 

  • High temperature. You feel hot to touch on your chest or back, you do not need to measure your temperature, but if you do have a thermometer 39.4 C (103F) or higher is considered too high. 
  • Persistent dry cough. Coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual). 

Other confirmed symptoms of Covid-19 include: 

  • Loss of taste and smell (That one is a biggie in terms of telltale signs! In one study,  of 55 participants, 94% of the study pool who said that they lost their sense of smell tested positive for Covid-19).
  • Tiredness / fatigue.
  • Sore throat.
  • Itchy eyes.
  • Labored breathing.

Not considered Covid-19 symptoms but common symptoms of allergies: 

  • Nasal blockage.
  • Mucus/Phlegm production.
  • Frequent sneezing.

We’re all in this together

Yes, that’s a High School Musical song. And yes, we’ve heard it a million times. But it’s a cliche for a reason, we really are all integral in playing our part to fight this. Let’s get back to work, seeing our friends and family and group gatherings sooner rather than later! 

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