What you need to know

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Symptoms of coronavirus

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to appear.

The main symptoms to look out for are:

Other symptoms are fatigue, headaches, sore throat, aches and pains.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Compare symptoms of coronavirus, flu and cold

Symptoms range from mild to severe
Abrupt onset of symptoms
Gradual onset of symptoms
Fever or chillsCommonCommonRare
CoughCommon (usually dry)Common (usually dry)Mild
Aches and painsSometimesCommonCommon
Sore throatSometimesSometimesCommon
Shortness of breathSometimesNoNo
Runny or Stuffy NoseRareSometimesCommon
DiarrhoeaRareSometimes in childrenNo

Close contact

This is only a guide but close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should:

  • isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone
  • phone their GP, or emergency department
  • Self-isolation and self-quarantine

When you may need to be tested for coronavirus

If you develop symptoms you will need to self-isolate and phone your GP. The people in your household need to self-quarantine.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone. If they think you need to be tested for coronavirus, they will arrange a test. 

HSELive is an information line only and can’t order coronavirus tests.

How coronavirus is spread

Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets.

You could get the virus if you:

  • come into close contact with someone who has the virus and is coughing or sneezing
  • touch surfaces that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed on

As it’s a new illness, we do not know how easily the virus spreads from person to person. Spread is most likely from those who have symptoms.

The virus may only survive a few hours if someone who has it coughs or sneezes on a surface. Simple household disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces. Clean the surface first and then use a disinfectant.

Follow this advice to protect yourself and others from coronavirus.

Packages from affected countries

You cannot get coronavirus from packages or food that has come from China or elsewhere.

There’s no evidence that animals or animal products legally imported into the EU are a health risk due to coronavirus.

Treatment for coronavirus

There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. But many of the symptoms of the virus can be treated. 

Drink plenty of water. Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help with symptoms such as pain or fever. Paracetamol is usually recommended as the first-line treatment for most people. Before taking any medication you should read the full package leaflet that comes with your medicine. You should also follow any advice a healthcare professional gives you.

If you get the virus, your healthcare professional will advise treatment based on your symptoms.

Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus or any viruses. They only work against bacterial infections.

Supportive treatments, like oxygen therapy, can be given while your own body fights the virus. Life support can be used in extreme cases.

If you need to talk to the Donegal Travellers Primary Health Care Team please contact Ann Friel on 0861453429.