Coronavirus symptoms: Here are the Covid-19 signs to watch out for
More cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in the UK as the disease continues to spread across the globe.
The virus was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China, but cases have since been reported around the world including in the UK.
Italy has seen a high number of cases of the disease and quarantine measures have been put in place which will affect all of its citizens.
Here's what you need to know about the disease:
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars).
The current outbreak comes from a new coronavirus, not been previously identified in humans, that Chinese health officials said had spread from human to human and may be mutating. It has been linked to an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, China.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says on its website that human coronaviruses are common throughout the world.
What are the symptoms?
WHO say that common symptoms of coronavirus include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
It has also been reported that loss of taste and smell could be a symptom of coronavirus.
In more severe cases the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
The CDC advises that travellers to Wuhan, China, should avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), and animal markets.
The NHS says do not leave your home if you have either:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
How is it spread?
As this is such a new illness, experts still aren’t sure how it is spread. But.similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. Therefore covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and disposing of used tissues straight away is advised. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.
What precautions can be taken?
Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly. The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.
Should I avoid public places?
The government has ordered a lockdown of the country with all non-essential shops shut, along with venues such as pubs, clubs and theatres.
People are only allowed to go for the following reasons:
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
Do not meet others, even friends or family.
You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
Sources: World Health Organisation and NHS