There are some good ways people can protect themselves from the risk of catching coronavirus, says Heywood GP, Dr Chris Duffy.
“One of the ways we become infected, or pass on viruses to others, is through the droplets in coughs and sneezes – for instance through someone who has a virus, coughing into their hand, then touching a door handle. A simple and effective way to protect yourself from coronavirus is by making sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or a hand sanitiser if you are out and about. It’s particularly important to wash your hands once you get home or arrive at work or before you prepare or eat food. If you are unwell it’s vital that you catch your coughs and sneezes in a tissue, or use your arm if needed, throw the tissues away, then wash your hands.”
“If coronavirus begins to spread in the community over the coming days or weeks, people with symptoms of coronavirus (such as a cough or fever) may be asked to self isolate. This may mean staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people for up to 14 days. If the virus is spreading quickly, we may ask whole households to self-quarantine, if anyone in the home has symptoms. It’s very important to point out that we expect that the majority of people who catch coronavirus will not need to see a health professional as their symptoms will be mild, such as those you might expect with a cold or flu and are treatable at home.”
“It’s possible that some arrangements will change temporarily while there is a response to the coronavirus outbreak nationally. I’d advise anyone that needs to see their GP about any matter, to ring the practice and to not just turn up. Some practices have been operating a ‘sit and wait’ or open clinic system meaning patients can turn up and wait to be seen without booking an appointment. It’s possible these arrangements may have been temporarily changed so please contact your practice by telephone in the first instance.”