Advice on how to help reduce your chances of getting coronavirus & what to do if you think you’re infected
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. The risk to individuals in Ireland is currently low, but it’s important to know what to do to help stop the spread of infection.
How is it spread?
As it’s a new illness, it’s not known exactly how this coronavirus is spread from person to person, but similar coronaviruses are spread through coughs and sneezes.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear and can vary in severity depending on the individual and whether they have underlying risk factors such as a weakened immune system or an underlying medical condition.
The main symptoms to look out for are:
• A cough - this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
• Fever (a high temperature of 38C or more) or chills
• Shortness of breath
• Breathing difficulties
Other symptoms are fatigue, headaches, sore throat, aches and pains.
What should I do if I develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms you should self isolate (stay indoors and avoid other people) and phone your GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone. If they think you need to be tested for coronavirus, they will arrange a test.
How do I protect myself & others from coronavirus?
There are a number of things you can do:
• Practice social distancing (minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals) by reducing your interactions with others and keeping a distance of two metres from people. For more on social distancing please see: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/protect-yourself.html
• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use sanitiser gel when you’re out and about
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
• Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
• Stay at home if you are sick and encourage friends, family members and co-workers to do the same
What are the treatment options?
There is currently no vaccine or medicine available for coronavirus. Medical professionals can only treat symptoms (like a high temperature) of the infection.
Is there a vaccination to protect against coronavirus?
No, the virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against coronavirus. Currently, the best way to protect against coronavirus is to follow the same steps you would follow to avoid the flu or cold. Vaccinations against flu and pneumonia do not provide effective protection against coronavirus, however, for certain population groups, the World Health Organisation highly recommends vaccinations against respiratory illnesses to protect health.
Where can I get more information?
The Department of Health have a range of information at: https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/
Health advice is available from the HSE website: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/
Travel information is available via the Department of Foreign Affairs: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/coronavirus/