COVID-19 is an unpredictable enemy. Having snuck up on the world back in mid-December, it has outsmarted efforts to contain it ever since. Patient-reported symptoms are helping authorities to map onto its movements, while alerting the general public to the warning signs. Now a 23-year-old has aided the effort to understand more about the virus.
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Lauren Walker ended up in hospital after her COVID-19 symptoms worsened over the course of ten days.
Speaking to ChronicleLive, she recounted the stages of her symptoms: “I was at home on the sofa and was so breathless.
“I had a tiny cough, but not persistent, so I rang 111 on the Monday after being poorly all weekend.
“I wasn’t able to sleep, had a constant fever, a headache and shortness of breath.”
In an attempt to alleviate her wheezing and coughing, doctors prescribed antibiotics and steroids.
Unfortunately, this intervention proved futile and Lauren was eventually taken to hospital.
Describing her lowest point, Lauren said: “I couldn’t even speak in full sentences because I couldn’t breathe or catch my breath, and I couldn’t stop coughing.
After receiving the diagnosis on Monday, Lauren said is now on the mend.
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What should you do if you spot symptoms?
According to official health advice, you must not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.
This social distancing policy is called self-isolation.
According to the NHS, if you are self-isolating, you must:
- Not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
- Not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
- Not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home.
You can use your garden, if you have one, however.
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How long should I self-isolate for?
“If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for seven days,” explains the NHS.
After seven days:
- If you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate
- If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal
You do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after seven days, whoever.
As the NHS explains, a cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.
Why is social distancing so important?
Public Health England (PHE) explains: “When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection.”
That is why the government has introduced three new measures, says the health body.
These measures are:
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- Closing certain businesses and venues
- Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.
Every person in the UK must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on Monday March 23, it says.
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