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 111.nhs.uk (for people aged 5 and over only)
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can:
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.