|Laya healthcare knows you have questions and concerns surrounding Covid-19 (Coronavirus). With the help of Dr. Sylvester Mooney, the clinical lead of laya’s GPLive online doctor service, they are answering your most commonly asked questions.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms are a cough, a fever (high temperature) and a shortness of breath.
I got the flu jab, am I protected?
Unfortunately, the flu vaccination is very specific to prevent infection with the influenza type viruses and it confers no protection from the point of view of preventing Corona virus infection.
Is hand sanitiser enough to protect?
Nothing gives absolute 100% protection against this virus, however using hand sanitisers and frequent hand washing greatly reduces the risk of transmission of this infection.
How long can it survive on surfaces?
What we know is that this virus is spread by droplets either from a cough or a sneeze and they can last on surfaces for a few hours. However, simple cleaning with a disinfectant of frequently touched surfaces and objects is enough to reduce the risk.
If I have a cough or a cold does that mean that I have it and do I need to be tested?
At this time, the Corona virus infection is only acquired by exposure to another person who has had a confirmed case or if you have been to an infected area and you have started to develop symptoms.
If I think I have it, who do I call or where do I go to for help?
If you have been in contact with a proven case of this and you start to develop symptoms of cough, a fever (high temperature) and a shortness of breath, then you should contact your G.P by phone.
If on the other hand, you do not have a G.P. and you have those symptoms then you should contact your local accident and emergency department by phone.
If you have it, how do you treat it?
Because this illness is caused by a virus there is no specific treatment and antibiotics are of no help. However the symptoms of fever can be treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen and plenty of fluids along with rest and self-isolation.
Do you have to go to hospital if you have it or can you get better at home?
Currently the test to confirm the presence of this infection is only available in the hospital, you would then be advised as to whether you need admission to hospital or whether this can be managed at home by self-isolation.
I work in a healthcare role; do I need extra precautions?
If you are a healthcare worker or work in a healthcare setting your employer will advise you of what personal, protective equipment is required to minimise your risk of exposure to this virus.
If someone has a medical condition with a suppressed immune system, should they be worried?
Persons who are immunocompromised are at increased risk of catching any infection including the Corona virus, so the best advice is frequent hand-washing and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.
If someone is going through cancer treatment, are they at risk while in hospital?
Currently all patients with the Corona virus infection are treated in special isolation units within the hospital so there is no excess of transmission in the hospital setting compared to the community. It is important that people continue to attend for any treatment in relation their treatment for cancer.
When will there be a vaccine?
It is not known when a vaccine to this infection will be available, however, current estimates are that it might possibly take another year or 18 months before one is available.
If someone has a trip planned to an affected area are there any precautions that they should take?
Keep abreast of up to date national guidance from both the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs. It’s also important to check if your schools or workplaces have any guidance/policies for those travelling to affected areas.
For more information on the Corona/Covid-19 virus please visit https://www.layahealthcare.ie/covid19info/.
(Based on an interview with Dr Mooney conducted on March 4th 2020)