Coronavirus containment measures have been announced by the government today, after it revealed the outbreak in the UK could lead to a fifth of workers being absent from the workplace. With the UK healthcare system and workforces bracing themselves for an all-out pandemic, it is important to know how you can help to contain the crisis.
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One key area that has prompted confusion is what to do if you experience mild symptoms.
Speaking to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on ITV’s This Morning, Dr Simon Clarke, virologist, said to treat mild symptoms the way you would a cold or flu.
As Dr Clark explained, it is important to “rest up at home and take paracetamol” if you experience mild symptoms.
He also emphasised the importance of washing your hands with soap to contain any mild symptoms.
What constitutes mild symptoms?
According to the NHS, coronavirus symptoms include:
- A cough
- A high temperature
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness, however.
As the health body explains, the symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
Busting coronavirus myths
In addition to the inherent dangers posed by the virus, another risk is the spread of misinformation, which can lead to greater hysteria and casualties.
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According to WHO, one particularly harmful myth being pedalled is the supposed effectiveness of spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill to the new coronavirus.
According to the health body, this myth is patently false: “Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body.”
In fact, spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth), warns the health site.
“Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations,” it warns.
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Another myth that has gained traction is that hand dryers may be effective in killing the virus.
According to WHO, hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV.
“To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water,” advises the health body.
Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer, it adds.
According to the NHS, fears that you can contract the virus mail and parcels from china or other affected areas are unfounded.
There is currently no evidence that you can catch coronavirus from parcels and letters.
As the health body points out, viruses like coronavirus cannot live for very long outside the body.
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