COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.
Symptoms of Coronavirus:
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to appear.
The main symptoms to look out for are:
- a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- shortness of breath
- breathing difficulties
- fever (high temperature) or chills
Other symptoms are fatigue, headaches, sore throat, aches and pains.
How coronavirus is spread:
Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets.
You could get the virus if you:
- come into close contact with someone who has the virus and is coughing or sneezing
- touch surfaces that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed on
As it’s a new illness, we do not know how easily the virus spreads from person to person. Spread is most likely from those who have symptoms.
The virus may only survive a few hours if someone who has it coughs or sneezes on a surface. Simple household disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces. Clean the surface first and then use a disinfectant.
This is only a guide but close contact can mean:
- spending more than 15 minutes face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person
- living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person
Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should:
- isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone
- phone their GP, or emergency department
Treatment for coronavirus:
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. But many of the symptoms of the virus can be treated.
Drink plenty of water. Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help with symptoms such as pain or fever. Paracetamol is usually recommended as the first-line treatment for most people. Before taking any medication you should read the full package leaflet that comes with your medicine. You should also follow any advice a healthcare professional gives you.
Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus or any viruses. They only work against bacterial infections.
Supportive treatments, like oxygen therapy, can be given while your own body fights the virus. Life support can be used in extreme cases.
How to protect yourself and others from coronavirus:
Follow this advice as strictly as possible and encourage others to follow this advice too.
- Wash your hands properly and often.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
- Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people – keep a distance of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and others.
- Avoid crowded places, especially indoors.
- Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
- Stay at home if you are sick to help stop the spread of whatever infection you may have.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Do not share objects that touch your mouth – for example, bottles, cups, phones etc
- Do not shake hands.
Wash your hands properly and often
You should wash your hands:
- after coughing or sneezing
- before and after eating
- before and after preparing food
- if you were in contact with someone who has a fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)
- before and after being on public transport or in a crowd (especially an indoor crowd)
- when you arrive and leave buildings including your home or anyone else’s home
- if you have handled animals or animal waste
- before having a cigarette or vaping
- if your hands are dirty
- after toilet use
Keep your hands in good condition, moisturise them often.
Do not wear gloves instead of washing your hands. The virus gets on them in the same way it gets on your hands. Also, your hands can get contaminated when you take them off.
For more information check out https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html