Coronavirus: What can you do to stay safe?

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Coronavirus: What can you do to stay safe?

Making a few simple changes can make all the difference when it comes to preparing for coronavirus; here’s how you can make sure you’re as safe as possible.

The biggest headlines at the moment all concern the same thing: Covid-19, otherwise known as coronavirus. Understandably, the spread of this disease has caused a lot of concern, particularly among healthcare workers and those caring for the elderly, who are among the most at-risk when it comes to the virus.

 However, the last thing you want to do right now is panic. With reports of people buying up supplies and stockpiling food and toilet paper - something that is not only unnecessary but also prevents those most at-risk from accessing items they need - we thought it would be a good idea to dispel some of the myths and talk you through how to avoid coronavirus and keep yourself and everyone around you safe.

 Wash your hands!

The most important piece of advice we can give is to wash your hands properly. We know, you’ve heard this everywhere, but it really is the best thing you can be doing right now. The NHS has plenty of advice on this, but here are the basics you need to know:

  • Make sure you’re using warm water and plenty of soap.
  • You should be washing your hands for about 20 seconds, which is about as long as it takes to sing “happy birthday” twice (or the chorus of “Africa” by Toto if you’d prefer).
  • You should wash your hands before and after handling food, after using the toilet, after sneezing or coughing and after touching an animal.

Coughing and sneezing

Everyone needs to cough and sneeze from time to time, and it doesn’t mean you’ve caught coronavirus. However, it is important to take efforts not to spread the disease. You should always aim to cough or sneeze into a tissue, which you should immediately throw away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow rather than your hands.

 You might be wondering if you can use hand sanitiser instead. The NHS recommends you wash your hands, but if you’re somewhere without a sink and soap then hand sanitiser will do; just remember it’s not a replacement for proper handwashing. It’s also a good idea to use a brand that contains more than 60 per cent alcohol.

You might have wondered about wearing a face mask, and it’s certainly not going to hurt. Masks don’t guarantee you won’t catch something, but they do make it less likely, and they’re great at preventing you from spreading any germs you have to others. However, we know we sound like a broken record on this, but a mask isn’t a replacement for handwashing!

 What if you catch coronavirus?

If you find you have a cough, a high temperature or shortness of breath, you might have coronavirus. Don’t panic; remember, 80 per cent of cases are mild and you will likely be fine. The first thing you should do if you suspect you have the disease is call 111 and talk to the NHS’ coronavirus service, or go online here. Then follow the advice you receive there.

You might need to isolate yourself, and this is extremely important if you regularly come into contact with the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. To avoid spreading coronavirus, it’s important you don’t visit a doctor or hospital as well; the NHS 111 service should provide you with everything you need.