Coronavirus: What are symptoms and should I self-isolate?
PUBLISHED: 11:20 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:29 13 March 2020
While Norfolk has not yet had any confirmed cases of coronavirus it seems to be only a matter of time and people are being urged to take action if they develop symptoms.
The Department of Health announced nationally the number of positive cases now stands at 590, a rise of 190 in 24-hours, though it remains at 32 in the East of England.
It is essential that people with even the mildest symptoms of coronavirus do not risk the health of others by ignoring advice to stay at home, Norfolk's director of public health Dr Louise Smith has warned.
So, how will you know you may have the disease and what should you do?
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature and or a new, continuous cough. It could start with a fever followed by a dry cough, which can lead to breathing difficulties for some. However for most people, it will be a mild infection.
What should I do if I think I have coronavirus?
People who think they may be affected by coronavirus need to call the NHS 111 phone service for further advice. You should NOT go to your GP surgery, a pharmacy or hospital, including A&E.
MORE: Ill must stay at home to protect others, says Norfolk public health director
Should I stay at home?
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for seven days from when your symptoms started.
What does 'stay at home' mean?
You should remain indoors. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis. You cannot go for a walk. You will need to ask friends or relatives if you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication. Alternatively, you can order medication by phone or online. You can also order your shopping online. Make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection. The delivery driver should not come into your home.
Should I inform others?
You do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. However people are advised to plan ahead. Think about what you will need in order to be able to stay at home for the full seven days. Talk to your employer, friends and family to ask for their help to access the things you will need. Ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online, but make sure these are left outside your home for you to collect.
What about other people I live with?
You should try to separate yourself from other people in your home and keep the door closed. If you cannot stay in a separate room aim to keep two-metres (about three steps) away from the other people. This may be particularly difficult for parents of small children, people with other caring responsibilities or those living in studio apartments, Public Health England admits.
MORE: GP practices closes surgeries and launch phone-only appointments
What about using shared facilities?
Those staying at home should try to minimise the time spent in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas as much as possible. If you can, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. If not clean surfaces after use. If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it whilst others are present. Take your meals back to your room to eat. Wash and dry crockery and cutlery thoroughly, using a separate tea towel.
When can I end my self-isolation?
After seven days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine. If you have not had any signs of improvement and have not already sought medical advice, you should contact NHS 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk. Coughing may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean you must continue to self-isolate for more than seven days.
Will I be tested if I think I have coronavirus?
Those self-isolating with mild symptoms will not be tested.
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