COVID SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.
These symptoms are likely to stay mild, but if they worsen or do not improve after 7 days, you are asked to dial NHS 24 on 111. Please do not call your GP or go to the surgery.
This provides patients with a straightforward dedicated route to clinical advice and support, as well as freeing up GP practices to treat and care for all non-COVID-19 health conditions.
Callers to the 111 helpline will be assessed through a number of questions. On the basis of the answers they will either be given additional clinical and medical advice (helping them to continue self-isolating at home) or, if necessary, an appointment will be made for them with a local assessment centre staffed by clinicians from across the healthcare system. This will ensure patients get the best possible advice at the right time.
In emergencies, call 999.
If you have developed any of these symptoms, or are worried you might have the virus, the NHS have developed a guide which can be found here.
If you require a sick note due to coronavirus, you can get this from the NHS Inform website.
TESTING FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE STAFF
Prioritised testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) will allow key health and social care workers to return to work. As testing capacity increases, this will be extended to other key workers.
There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.
But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.
Here is a link to more information
As of the 16th of March, anyone developing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, however mild, should stay at home for 7 days from the onset of symptoms.
In addition, anyone living in the same household as the person with symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days.
If they develop symptoms within the 14 days, they need to stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms began. They should do this even if it takes them over the 14-day isolation period.
Details on what self-isolation means can be found here
Everyone is being instructed to participate in social distancing.
Social distancing measures are steps you must take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Particularly stringent social distancing is important for the more vulnerable people including those who:
- Are over 70
- Have an underlying health condition
- Are pregnant
If you think you fall into this group, please also refer to the advice on shielding below.
Details on what social distancing means and what best practice looks like can be found here.
You may now only leave your home for the following reasons:
- Shopping for basic necessities, which should only happen once a day.
- One form of exercise a day, like a run, walk or cycle, either alone or with members of your household.
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- Travelling to and from work but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
You should not meet friends or family members other than for essentials, and should do this as little as you can. Use food delivery services where you can.
Social events must not take place, including weddings and christenings. Funerals may take place, but even they are restricted to immediate family only.
Gatherings of more than two people will no longer be allowed to happen.
These social distancing measures apply to children, young people and adults alike. It is about reducing the totality of our social interactions and accompanying any and all contact with the wider guidance on hand-washing, personal hygiene and the minimisation of personal contact.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England has said children and families in the same home have the same exposure risk so are safe to play together.
If you go outside, go in a way that reduces your social contact such as staying 2 metres away, not having direct or indirect contact with other people, and adhere to the wider guidance on hand-washing and personal hygiene. Do not gather outside with other people because this can still facilitate the spreading of the virus.
Every time you think about meeting up with or coming into physical contact with other people, ask yourself if it is really necessary. If it is not necessary, do not do it. Don’t go shopping except for essential items, such as food and medicine, and when you do keep to the 2 metre rule. If the shop is crowded, the advice is to not go in.
The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland has said that gatherings and groupings, including occasions such as weddings, are the most risky for spreading the deadly virus. One person at these gatherings has the opportunity to spread the virus to many more people.
Hand hygiene at transition times is essential - for example, entering or leaving your own home, entering and leaving any other place, or touching surfaces while travelling. This means washing your hands with soap or water, or if this isn’t available then using hand sanitiser. This will remove the virus from your hands because it has a greasy coating that dissolves.
Later this week, emergency legislation will give powers of enforcement to back up these measures on social distancing and premises closures.
Until those powers are put in place, if the police find people on premises flouting these rules, the police will offer strong advice for people to stop.
Within days they will be able to follow that up with enforcement, which is likely to take the form of a fine.
VULNERABLE PEOPLE AND SHIELDING
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms and the highest risk of fatalities in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
Shielding measures are extremely valuable in protecting the people clinically most vulnerable from coming into contact with coronavirus - those who are immuno-compromised.
200,000 people in Scotland will be contacted by NHS Scotland during the week beginning 23rd March. These include people who have:
- specific forms of cancer
- severe respiratory conditions
- rare diseases
- received organ transplants
- congenital heart disease
- are on certain types of immunosuppression therapy
- are pregnant and have a heart condition
They will be asked to stay home and avoid outside contact for 12 weeks.
Others in the household will not be required to self-isolate. However, they must follow public health guidance on social distancing.
Any care services that are set up will continue, though may be adapted to make sure they are as safe as possible. Carers can continue to visit, but again should continue to follow public health guidance.
For this group, the guidance on isolation will be strict. Some may need to isolate within their own homes. The support that will be made available through GPs and local resilience partnerships will include not just help with their conditions, but access to medicines, services, food and supplies.
The extraordinary measures that this group must adopt to protect themselves demonstrate why each and everyone of us has to take this seriously.
More information on shielding measures can be found here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
- Age Scotland’s free, confidential helpline is available on 0800 12 44 222 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.
Specific information for those who are pregnant can be found here
Specific information for those suffering from cancer can be found here
- Specific information for those who have diabetes can be found here.
ASTHMA AND COPD
- Asthma Helpline: 0300 222 5800
- Other lung conditions helpline: 03000 030 555
- British Lung Foundation
- Asthma UK
Exercise is extremely important in terms of keeping fit and maintaining mental wellbeing. People should go out once a day to exercise, whatever that exercise may be for you (a run, walk or cycle), but don’t do it except in small family groups and do not mingle with other people while outdoors.
WIDER HEALTH ISSUES
Frontline critical and key workers, particularly in the national health service and social care, are the priority for our expanded testing services. The aim is to test:
- Those who are admitted to hospital with Covid-19 symptoms or with upper respiratory infection.
- Critical workers so they can be at work unless they are actually ill.
- Surveillance to enable monitoring of the prevalence of the infection across the population.
Three laboratories that are operational, in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. Their capacity will increase from around 780 tests per day to 3,000 per day.
The Scottish Government is asking recently retired health workers to return to the NHS to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Everyone who has left the medical profession during the past three years is being asked to consider returning to the NHS.
The Scottish Government is continuing to work towards doubling the number of intensive care beds and to increase bed capacity by 3,000.
It is also working with community pharmacies to increase their capacity and ensure they have what they need to extend their involvement in many areas of healthcare. More information on this project can be found in this press release from 23rd March.
There is no need to stockpile medicines or request additional prescriptions as there is no shortage. If anyone is experiencing symptoms and needs to stay at home, family members or neighbours should be asked to collect prescriptions on their behalf. Those whose prescription medicines are usually delivered and are symptomatic, this will not change, however, doorstep procedures may be implemented.
The Minor Ailment Service has been extended to cover everyone who is registered with a local GP. Your pharmacist can give you medicine for a minor illness or complaint, if they think you need it. Accessing this will take pressure off the wider NHS and your GP.
The latest guidance for anybody with diabetes is being published here
Everybody can also get specialist information and advice on all aspects of living with diabetes through our Diabetes UK Helpline. Diabetes UK can help with answers, support or just to talk to someone who knows about diabetes - on 0345 123 2399 or [email protected].
The helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm, and we’re here to help.
HEART CONDITIONS SUPPORT
The British Heart Foundation have published a number of important resources on their Coronavirus page.
TERMINALLY ILL SUPPORT
For those who are terminally ill or have recently lost a loved one, you can
- Call the Marie Curie support line on 0800 090 2309
- Use the Marie Curie Check in and Chat service