The coronavirus or Covid-19 as it has been referred to, has been declared a global pandemic and now the whole world is trying to get a grip of on the virus before it affects more people.
Here are the signs to look out for if you are feeling sick and what you should do during this global state of emergency.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The first symptom is usually a dry cough or sore throat. This can be quickly followed by a fever and then, in some cases, fatigue. Some people develop shortness of breath around the sixth day after first starting to feel unwell.
Anything else I should watch out for?
The course of the illness varies from one person to another, but other symptoms include headaches, dizziness and confusion, diarrhoea, difficulty walking, nausea or vomiting, as well as loss of appetite.
In severe cases — which are most common in the elderly and those with high blood pressure, heart and lung problems or diabetes — it can cause pneumonia and kidney failure, and can kill.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
Anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus, with either a high temperature (37.8c or above — this makes the chest or back feel hot to the touch) or a new, continuous cough, and who lives with other people, should stay at home for 14 days.
The advice also applies to those who appear healthy but live with those exhibiting symptoms. ‘That means that, if possible, you should not go out, even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others,’ he advised.
How long should I stay off work?
If you feel better and your fever has gone, you can go back to work after seven days, rather than 14.
What else can I do?
You should drink plenty of water and take ‘everyday’ painkillers, such as paracetamol, to help ease symptoms. The water will prevent dehydration, while the painkillers will help curb the fever.
France, however, is advising against the use of ibuprofen. Health minister Olivier Véran said on Saturday: ‘The taking of anti-inflammatories could be a factor in aggravating the infection.
‘In case of a fever, take paracetamol. If you are already taking anti-inflammatory drugs, ask your doctor’s advice.’
Professor John Oxford, a virologist at Queen Mary University of London, says: ‘Food is a good source of water and nutrients, but you won’t feel like eating much, and drinking lots of water stops you becoming dehydrated.’
Should I be eating anything special?
Those with coronavirus could consider taking immune system-boosting vitamins, says dietitian Carrie Ruxton. ‘We don’t know enough about the virus to say whether any particular nutrients will treat it, but we know that vitamins A, C and D support normal immune function.
‘If you aren’t eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables while you’re at home, supplementation can top this up. Plus, orange juice is extremely good for vitamin C, and is really refreshing if you are thirsty and hot.’
Meal replacement shakes can provide a valuable source of calories for the elderly, who may already be frail and can ill-afford to lose more weight, she adds.
What if I’m staying at home but feel well?
If you feel healthy but are self-isolating, perhaps because someone you live with is showing symptoms, you should keep an eye on calorie intake.
‘High-fibre foods, such as fruit and vegetables, are very nutritious because they are high in vitamins and minerals, but are not very calorific, so it would be advisable for someone who is healthy but moving less to fill up on these foods,’ says Linia Patel, an dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. ‘You should make at least half your plate high-fibre foods.’
-Adapted from the Daily Mail