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Stories from March, 2020


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Spring 2020 Newsletter – Coronavirus Quiz Answers

Can a face mask protect you from the virus?

Currently, there is not enough evidence for or against the use of masks (medical or other) in healthy individuals in the wider community. However, WHO is actively studying the rapidly evolving science on masks and continuously updates its guidance.  Medical masks are recommended primarily in health care settings, but can be considered in other circumstances (see WHO guidelines). Medical masks should be combined with other key infection prevention and control measures such as hand hygiene and physical distancing.

What is the official name of this coronavirus?

SARS-Cov-2.  This virus causes the disease called COVID-19.  ‘COVID’ = COronaVIrusDisease. 19 from the year it was identified.

How long should you wash your hands for?

You should wash your hands for 20 seconds – two verses of ‘Happy Birthday To You’.

What is the NHS Helpline number?


To get help from NHS 111, you can:

  • Go to (for people aged 5 and over only)
  • Call 111

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can:


How do you protect yourself from the coronavirus?

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 2 metre (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the coronavirus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
    Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from the virus.
  • Self-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache, low grade fever (37.3 C or above) and slight runny nose, until you recover. If it is essential for you to have someone bring you supplies or to go out, e.g. to buy food, then wear a mask to avoid infecting other people.
    Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
  • If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travellers.
    Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Information taken from

Updated advice from 26.5.20: 

Stay alert.

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Information taken from:

Spring 2020 Newsletter

Coronavirus – Update for Respiratory Patients

The novel coronavirus seems now to have established community transmission in the UK.  This means that people are catching the virus without having come across someone who had been in a high risk country such as Northern Italy, Iran or China. 

Fortunately, the numbers of people affected in the UK are relatively small as of 11th March 2020, so the risk of catching this disease is not that high.  COVID-19 is best thought of as like the usual respiratory viruses you can catch in winter and which can cause exacerbations of your underlying lung condition. In a minority, COVID-19 can also cause pneumonia directly.

If you have been in contact with someone who has recently been to a high risk part of the world or who has tested positive for COVID-19 infection, the Department of Health and British Lung Foundation websites will give you the advice you need to follow. Essentially, you should self-isolate for 14 days, and if you develop a fever or a cough, you will need to be tested for the coronavirus.

Testing for the coronavirus is best done by someone coming to your home rather than you travelling outside of your home, and the 111 helpline should be able to arrange this for you.

Now that the coronavirus is established in the UK, if you have underlying chronic lung disease, you will need to take care to avoid the infection.  This will mean avoiding people as much as possible (that is, not using public transport at busy periods, avoiding crowds, perhaps working from home) and scrupulous hand cleansing (as advised by the Department of Health).  This is especially important if you have severe lung disease – that is lung disease that makes you breathless when walking about – as COVID-19 infection is a particular risk if the lungs are already badly affected by another disease. If you get symptoms of a cough and fever, you may need to use the treatments you would normally use if you have an exacerbation, eg. increase your inhalers, perhaps start antibiotics.  You can ring 111 to arrange for someone to test you for the virus.  However, if your breathing is deteriorating significantly, you may have to come to the hospital to be treated.

British Lung Foundation:
Department of Health:

Coronavirus – Respiratory Patient Guidance

At present, the novel coronavirus has infected only a very small number of people in the UK, almost all of whom have had contact with someone who has come from a high risk country where there has been a lot of coronavirus (eg. China, Iran, Northern Italy). Therefore, you are very unlikely to come across the virus unless you are in contact with someone who has travelled from a high risk country – so you don’t need to be worried about COVID-19 infection at this current time.

If you have been in contact with someone who has recently been to a high risk part of the world, the Department of Health and British Lung Foundation websites will give you the advice you need to follow. If you develop a fever or a cough, you will need to be tested for the coronavirus; and that is best done by someone coming to your home rather than you travelling outside of your home. Phone 111 and they will arrange this for you.

The British Lung Foundation have guidelines for those with a respiratory condition.

British Lung Foundation guide:
Department of Health website: