Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less severe disease, such as the common cold, and others causing more severe disease. COVID-19 is the newest, not seen before in humans.
Because it is a new virus, scientists are learning more each day. Although most people who have COVID-19 have mild symptoms, COVID-19 can also cause severe illness and even death. Some groups, including older adults and people who have certain underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk of severe illness.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19.
Find out about the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, visit the Essex COVID-19 vaccine website.
On this website, you’ll find lots of information and advice including: details of vaccination centres, and walk-in clinics vaccine advice on pregnancy and fertility sensory impairment and easy read information about the vaccine information about needle phobia services.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- 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)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Most people with symptoms have at least one of these.
Find out the latest NHS coronavirus information.
What to do if you have Coronavirus
If you have COVID-19, you can pass on the virus to other people for up to 10 days from when your infection starts. Many people will no longer be infectious to others after 5 days.
- try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days
- avoiding meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine
This starts from the day after you did the test.
If a child or young person aged 18 or under tests positive for COVID-19, they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days. This starts from the day after they did the test.
Children and young people tend to be infectious to others for less time than adults. If they’re well and do not have a temperature after 3 days, there’s a much lower risk that they’ll pass on COVID-19 to others.
If you are feeling unwell and do not test positive or test negative for COVID-19
If you do not feel well enough to go to work and do your normal activities, you should:
- try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people
- avoid meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19 especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine
You can go back to your normal activities if you:
- feel well enough to do so
- do not have a high temperature
When to seek medical advice
Go to 111.nhs.uk, call 111 or call your GP surgery if:
- you’re worried about your symptoms
- your symptoms get worse
In an emergency, go to A&E immediately or call 999.
How to look after yourself at home if you have coronavirus
Dr Sharon Hadly: “Hello I’m Dr Sharon Hadly, I want to talk to you about how to look after yourself if you think you have Coronavirus”.
“You all know how to look after simple coughs and colds, and symptoms of Coronavirus may simply be like this, but you can be a lot worse”.
“So, if you are unwell, please get a test by using NHS 111 service”.
“Most people with Coronavirus (Covid-19) feel better within a few weeks. You may be able to look after yourself at home while you recover”.
“If you have a temperature, it is important to get lots of rest”.
“You should also drink plenty of fluids. Water is best to avoid dehydration. It is important to drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear”.
“If you feel uncomfortable you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen”.
“If you have a cough, it is best to avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit upright instead”.
“To help ease a cough, try having a teaspoon of honey but do not give this to babies under 12 months old”.
“If this doesn’t help, you should ask a non-isolating friend or family member to seek advice from a pharmacist on your behalf”.
“Do not attend a pharmacy yourself”.
“If you are feeling breathless, it can help to keep your room cool.”
“Try turning the heating down or opening a window. Do not use fan as it may spread the virus”.
“You could also try breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth, with your lips together like you’re gently blowing out a candle. Sitting upright in a chair relaxing your shoulders, so you’re not hunched”.
“Leaning forward slightly – support yourself by putting your hands on your knees or on something stable like a chair”.
“It is important to try and stay calm if you’re feeling breathless. Anxiety can make it a lost worse.”
“If you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms, you must all stay at home”.
“If you are concerned about your symptoms and need medical advice, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service”.
Get help while you’re staying at home
NHS Volunteer Responders can help you while you have to stay at home (self-isolate). They can help with things like collecting shopping and medicines.
Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, everyday) to arrange help from a volunteer.
For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or “long COVID”.
Many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer.
The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19.
People who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems.
Find out more information about long COVID, visit nhs.uk.
Further COVID-19 information
To make sure you receive the most up-to-date guidance on symptoms, how to look after yourself and others and information on self-isolation and social distancing, please visit nhs.uk.
You can also visit your local authority website for local information and support.
Mental health support services
COVID-19 can have an impact on your mental health. You may be bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. These are all common reactions to the difficult situation we face.
A website offering free and immediate access to support from mental health specialists has been launched by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) and partners in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.COVID-19 wellbeing support