There are many myths surrounding the disease so it’s important to know the facts to help you to stay safe.
Note: this article was written in 2020. A wealth of knowledge has since been generated concerning the disease and how to handle it. You should do your best to keep yourself well informed as to the latest developments and vaccine information.
How does the virus spread?
COVID-19 spreads quickly through:
- Coughing or sneezing: People could catch COVID-19 if they are standing within one meter of person who has the illness, by breathing in droplets coughed or exhaled by the ill person
- Close personal contact such as shaking hands, kissing or touching others
- Touching the mouth, nose or eyes after touching an object or surface on which the virus is found, e.g. if an infected person has coughed or exhales close to these objects
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infection?
The primary symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Other symptoms may include muscle aches, nasal congestion, sore throat and diarrhoea.
What steps can you take to minimise your risk of transmission?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay at home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw away the tissue in the bin
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that get touched often
- Avoid business meetings where practical and favour teleconferencing.
- Avoid or postpone any unnecessary international or local travel
What should you do if you suspect that you have contracted COVID-19?
Please remember that unless you have been travelling or have had contact with people with known infection, your risk for COVID is very low, almost negligible.
However, if you suspect that you might have contracted the virus and are showing signs of respiratory illness then
- Call your doctor, who will assess you and see whether you qualify as a “person under investigation” (PUI)
- Self isolate yourself at home and avoid social contact for at least 14 days.
- Wear a mask if you have to be around other people in your home and wash your hands regularly.
- Doctors have been informed and trained on how and from whom they should collect specimens. When you visit the doctor, clinic or hospital, you will be asked certain questions, examined and informed whether you should be tested. Various laboratories
across the country have been set up and trained on testing for the virus and are working closely with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID)
Can you get yourself tested?
- Yes. Previously, only your doctor could request this test because it had to be centrally coordinated according to the notifiable disease
- If you meet the criteria to be considered a PUI then you will be tested. A PUI is considered to be someone that has travelled internationally to a high-risk area in the last 6 weeks or has been exposed to someone that has been confirmed with the infection.
- This is all to avoid testing for people who are well but just worried.
What is the treatment for COVID-19?
- There is currently no cure but vaccines exist to combat the disease.
- If you have been tested positive, your doctor will treat the symptoms as they present. Not all positive COVID-19 cases will require hospitalisation.
- Most people have a mild illness (over 80% of cases worldwide). Those with more severe illness have been the elderly and those that are immunocompromised.
- The majority of people infected do recover.
Episodic Health urges all our members to stay calm, don’t panic and keep safe by following these tips above.