Coronavirus

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Coronavirus

Definition

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus.

Description

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can make both human and animals sick. Rarely,
animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people, as is the case with
COVID-19. COVID-19 was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China and has now
been detected in multiple locations internationally.

WHO IS AT RISK?

Most cases of COVID-19 are in Wuhan City, China. The people most at risk of getting the virus are
those who have:

  • been to a country or area in the last 14 days that has a high risk of COVID-19
  • been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19

Symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily,
and others may get very sick very quickly. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are
much more common, such as cold and flu. Common signs of COVID-19 infection include:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

Treatment

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. There is also no cure, however medical care can treat most of the symptoms. Seek medical
attention if:

  • you think you might have COVID-19
  • in the last 14 days you have been to a country or area with a high risk of COVID-19
  • you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE COVID-19

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, it is advisable to isolate yourself in your home. You may need to do this for up to 14 days to help
reduce the possible spread of infection. Follow these steps:

  • do not go to public places, such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university. If possible, ask other people to get food and
  • other necessities for you and leave them at your front door.
  • only people who usually live with you should be in your home. Do not let in visitors.
  • you do not need to wear a mask in your home.
  • If you need to leave home to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) and practise regular hand washing to
  • protect others.

Prevention

Good hygiene practices are the best way to prevent the spread of infection. These include:
frequent hand washing using soap and water. See the hand hygiene topic for more information.

  • regular use of hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • disposing of used tissues in the bin immediately.
  • thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
  • avoiding close contact with others, such as shaking hands, kissing and touching.
  • avoiding contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

There is no evidence to suggest that wearing a surgical mask will prevent infection with COVID-19. Surgical masks are only helpful in
preventing people who have COVID-19 from spreading it to others.

Pharmacist's advice

Ask your Pharmacist for advice

  1. Ensure everyone in your family has enough medication at home. If any prescriptions are due for a refill, make sure you submit them to your Pharmacy.
  2. If you do become unwell, ask your Pharmacist if medical supplies can be delivered to your home.
  3. To help prevent contracting and spreading any virus, practise regular hand washing. Soap is available from your Pharmacy. Hand sanitiser gel may also be available and can be used if soap and water are not available.
  4. If you do become unwell, paracetamol or ibuprofen will help to control your fever. Make sure you have enough on hand for yourself and family members. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
  5. If you do become unwell, it is important to stay well hydrated. Powders and solutions containing electrolytes are available from your Pharmacy.
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