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Understanding coronavirus and the best way to tackle it

Ever since COVID-19, known colloquially as coronavirus, was elevated to pandemic levels in March, the impact of the respiratory virus has been hard to avoid. From its origins in Wuhan City, COVID-19 has spread at a rapid rate, causing massive loss of life and raising issues concerning the capabilities of healthcare infrastructure to support those affected. 

It can often seem like the nature of COVID-19 is hard to understand in relation to other viruses, and why the global response has been quite as severe as it has. That’s because many of us lack the complex pathological experience to see the significance of the subtle differences between COVID-19 and other similar coronaviruses and seasonal flu. That’s why we’re here to help.

Since we’re all facing the consequences of coronavirus as we speak, understanding what it is, and how we’re going to fight it together is integral. We can all play our part in turning the tide against coronavirus, and making sure those most at risk don’t fall victim to it. Read on to find out what “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” mean, and how best to tackle it.

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What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 went through several naming processes before COVID-19 was settled on. There was “Wuhan Virus” after the origins of the first major outbreak, though it’s now been brought into doubt if it was where the virus actually started, and more simply “coronavirus”. 

The last one of these is significant since it doesn’t refer to any one virus, but rather a whole class. Coronaviruses all share one thing in common: they cause respiratory tract infections, which makes them particularly dangerous, especially as there are currently no vaccines or antiviral drugs that have been shown to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections. 

The most famous of these previously was SARS, with 8,422 cases and a 11% fatality rate. By contrast, the global number of confirmed coronavirus cases is currently at 5.5 million, with a lower fatality rate of 6.2%, though many of those patients are still undergoing treatment. Either way, it’s clear how dramatically different the scale of this outbreak is.

What are coronavirus symptoms?

One of the most important ways we have of tackling this iteration of coronavirus is by ensuring as high an awareness as possible of the symptoms in each instance. That way action can be taken swiftly and decisively, hopefully safeguarding against unnecessary loss of life and further infection. 

It’s worth noting that these symptoms are far from conclusive, but they serve as a solid way of gauging the likelihood that you or someone you know has become infected. The symptoms are as follows:

  • A high temperature (feeling hot to the touch)
  • New, continuous dry cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

While these three can have other sources, having any of them simultaneously is reason enough to investigate further.

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What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

If you think you have COVID-19, either because you’ve come into contact with a confirmed case and are now displaying symptoms, or because you have strong symptoms, the most important thing is to not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The government advice is still to self-isolate at home. 

First thing’s first, ring the NHS non-emergency service at 111, or access the dedicated 111 portal for coronavirus online. That way you can be sure that your symptoms actually align with all of the latest symptoms, and confirm that you’re potentially at risk. Importantly, you can also get direct advice about what to do next from a healthcare professional.

How long to self-isolate with coronavirus symptoms

The overwhelming weight of advice from the medical community is that if you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, you need to self isolate. If you’re living in the UK, the current guidelines are as follows:

  • If you’re exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, self isolate at home for 7 days.
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms, stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person started showing symptoms.
  • If you live with any one that is over 70, has a long term health condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try and find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. If living together you must try to stay away from each other as much as possible.

Avoiding catching and spreading COVID-19

The first and biggest step to tackling the spread of coronavirus, both as a carrier and as someone worried about the risk of infection, is to stay at home where possible. We’ve said this several times over already, but the easiest way to avoid COVID-19 is to not come into contact with it. Work from home if possible, avoid social gatherings, and keep a distance of 2 metres from anyone when you are public.

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Everyone has to leave their house sometimes though, so what else can you do to tackle it? Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, or using hand sanitiser, as well as avoiding touching your mouth, nose or eyes, are key preventative measures that everyone can easily enact.

If you’re washing your hands, make sure to do it for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If that’s not an option, then use a strong 70% alcohol hand gel to make sure any and all transferable microbes on your hands are obliterated. Do this frequently, and any time you come in from the outside.

The best PPE for tackling coronavirus

The main method of transference for coronavirus is through contagious droplets from those who are infected entering your respiratory system. These droplets, transferred either from coughing or sneezing, can be hard to avoid, which is where personal protective equipment enters the equation. 

The fact that coronavirus can live on surfaces is why using hand sanitiser and avoiding touching your face is so important, but it doesn’t cover all potential points of contamination. Our number one recommendation is wearing protective face masks, such as the KN95 respirator to effectively lower the risk of viral transmission.

By defending your airways, masks not only protect you from others, but others from yourself. Many carriers of COVID-19 can be asymptomatic—by wearing a face mask you prevent the infectious droplets from leaving your respiratory system and spreading. Protect each other and don’t risk contamination, today.

Buying the best PPE

Whether you’re looking for protective goggles, disposable aprons, or the best face shields, at PPE Solution we only stock certified products. That’s because our number one priority is your safety—the safer we all act, the quicker we can beat coronavirus.

If you’re curious about PPE, but want more information, we also provide a series of informative blogs. If you want to know more about the importance of social distancing, or why hand sanitiser is so effective against COVID-19, we’ve got you covered.