What to do if you have Coronavirus

Whilst we have seen a lot of recommendations for how to try to avoid getting coronavirus in the first place, e.g. good hand washing, personal hygiene and social distancing  etc, there does not seem to be a great deal of advice for what happens if you do get COVID-19, which, according to statistics,  many of us will.  We therefore thought it would be useful to gather advice from various sources, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and NHS online, and present it to you here to keep for when needed.

The information provided by the government is that the symptoms of the coronavirus can differ from person to person, however the most common ailments are either a high fever or a persistent cough.  More recently, the loss of taste and smell has also been reported.  For the majority of people, the virus will be like having a very bad cold or bout of flu, for others it will be similar to having pneumonia, and so the best way to prepare, is to stock up for these types of illnesses and think about how best to manage this type of sickness within your home.

A suggestion of things you should consider buying ahead of time include:

  • Kleenex/tissues
  • Paracetamol
  • whatever your generic, mucus thinning cough medicine of choice is (check the label and make sure you’re not doubling up on Paracetamol)
  • Honey and lemon can work just as well!    
  • Menthol vaporub for your chest, particularly good for soothing young children during the night.

If you have a humidifier then it is useful to use these at night-time to assist with breathing whilst you sleep.  If you do not own a humidifier, then you can also just turn the shower on hot and sit in the bathroom breathing in the steam until you feel more comfortable.

If you have a history of asthma and you have a prescription inhaler, make sure the one you have isn’t expired and refill it/get a new one if necessary. Similarly, if you have any children or relatives that may have asthma or breathing issues that requires medication, ensure that they have enough to support them, plus at least one spare cartridge in case of emergency or for use during a period of self-isolation.

It is also a good to meal prep ahead of time whilst you are feeling well.  Make a big batch of your favourite soup to freeze and have on hand, as well as some heaty family meals that you can freeze and cook easily.  This is a great tip to follow whether you are unwell or not, as having an easy go to dinner for days when self-isolation or lockdown seems a little too much can be a real saving grace.

Stock up on fluids are to drink.  Staying hydrated through any illness if important as it helps the body fight off infection.  Clear liquids are best here, so herbal teas, cordial drinks etc although tap water is fine, you may appreciate some variety!

For symptom management and a fever over 38°c, take Paracetamol rather than Ibuprofen. The NHS have stated that whilst “there is currently no strong evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.

But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

If you have no coronavirus symptoms and regularly take ibuprofen for pain relief, carry on taking it as usual. If you develop coronavirus symptoms, ask your doctor about changing to paracetamol instead.”

Do make sure that you rest.  In accordance with the governmental rules, you should not be leaving your house at all if you are in any way symptomatic.   Even if you are feeling better you may will still be infectious for fourteen days and older people and those with existing health conditions should be avoided.  If you are in need of any food or household items, try to liaise with a local friend to purchase these on your behalf and leave them on your doorstep whist you are in isolation, and consider returning the neighbourly favour once you are fully recovered and fit again.

The WHO recommends that you seek advice from a healthcare professional if you are struggling with a fever, cough and breathing difficulties, and this should be done via calling or online services. It is important to note that in order to protect our NHS and emergency services, you do not go to the hospital unless you are having trouble breathing or your fever is very high (over 39°C) and these are unmanaged with medication. 90% of healthy adult cases thus far have been managed at home with basic rest/hydration/over-the-counter medicine.

If you are worried or in distress or feel your symptoms are getting worse, you can visit 111 online or ring 111, and they will advise if you need to go to hospital.  The hospital beds will be used for people who actively need oxygen/breathing treatments/IV fluids.

If you have a pre-existing lung condition (COPD, emphysema, lung cancer) or are on immunosuppressants, now is a great time to talk to your Doctor or specialist about what they would like you to do if you get sick. It is likely that you would have already received a letter from the government advising that you remain within your homes for a 12-week period and avoid contact with other people.  Please do follow the guidelines set out by the medical professionals and the government as these have been created in order to help shield the most vulnerable members of our society.  If you are having issues with online shopping etc, then several supermarkets have signed up to a scheme to assist vulnerable people first and you should be able to be supported by most large retailers.  If you need to register yourself, or someone you care for, as vulnerable, you can do so here.

Parental Choice helps working families secure care solutions for their children and elderly relatives, all backed up with a comprehensive payroll, pension and legal team.

We also work with small and large businesses to support the wellbeing of parents and those with eldercare responsibilities.


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