COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus, which has not been previously identified in humans. In most cases, COVID-19 causes mild symptoms including dry cough, tiredness and fever, though fever may not be a symptom for some older people. Other mild symptoms include aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and has difficulty breathing.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
Older people, and people of all ages with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, or cancer) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of mild COVID-19, there are no medicines that have been shown to prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials of both western and traditional medicines. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19 and will continue to provide updated information as soon as research results become available.
To prevent infection, there are a five things that you can do.
You can also use alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty and if this product is available. Cleaning your hands frequently will remove the virus if it is on your hands. You can learn how to wash your hands in this video (or this visual). If an alcohol-based hand rub or soap is not available, then using chlorinated water (0.05%) for handwashing is an option, but it is not ideal because frequent use may irritate your skin.
And remember to throw away the used tissue immediately in a bin with a lid and to wash your hands. This way you protect others from any virus released through coughs and sneezes.
Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
If your national or local authorities have put in place confinement measures, it is important to respect them. Taking exercise outside is good for your physical and mental health, but should only be undertaken if regulations for your area allow it. When you do go out, avoid crowded spaces and maintain at least 1 metre distance (3 feet or arms-length) from others. Avoid unnecessary visits to your house. If visits are necessary (e.g. caregiver to support with activities of daily living), ask your visitor to regularly check for symptoms to ensure that they are symptom free when visiting you. Ask them to also follow these five key actions, including washing their hands when they first enter your home.
This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, taps, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Learn more by clicking here.
There is a lot that you can do to prepare for COVID-19 in your community.
You can follow these 10 steps to keep healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Losing someone close to you is always hard, whatever the cause. During these extraordinary circumstances, when your usual routine may be disrupted and when funerals may not be permitted, it may be even harder. Following this advice may help.
If you have been in contact with someone suspected or confirmed with COVID-19, or are feeling unwell, do not visit any health or long-term care facility.
Follow the facility guidelines on any visit requirements, including screening and wearing a mask.
Clean your hands before entering and try to keep at least a 1 metre distance from others.
If you are 60 or over, or have a chronic condition like heart disease, take extra precautions by wearing a medical mask during your visit.