CORONA VIRUS (COVID 19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
The risk of catching coronavirus in Ireland
The risk of catching coronavirus in Ireland is still low. This may change. However, most people may continue to go to work, school and other public places, as usual.
Anyone who knows they have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days and has symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever) should:
- isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room, with a phone
- phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112, or 999
- in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999
Close contact means either:
- face-to-face contact
- spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person.
Symptoms of coronavirus
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to appear.
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a cough
- shortness of breath
- breathing difficulties
- fever (high temperature)
If you have these symptoms and have also been to a country or region that is known to have coronavirus, then please PHONE US to discuss what to do next.
How coronavirus is spread
Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets.
You could get the virus if you:
- come into close contact with someone who has the virus and is coughing or sneezing
- touch surfaces that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed on
Because it's a new illness, we do not know how easily the virus spreads from person to person. We do not know if someone can spread the virus before they show symptoms.
The virus may only survive a few hours if someone who has it coughs or sneezes on a surface. Simple household disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces. Clean the surface first and then use a disinfectant.
Packages from affected countries
You cannot get coronavirus from packages or food that has come from China or elsewhere.
There is no evidence that animals or animal products legally imported into the EU are a health risk due to coronavirus.
Protect yourself from coronavirus
- Wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand rub
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
- Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs if travelling to a country or region with a spread of coronavirus.
- Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Wash your hands:
- after coughing or sneezing
- after toilet use
- before eating
- before and after preparing food
- if you are in contact with a sick person, especially those with respiratory symptoms
- if your hands are dirty
- if you have handled animals or animal waste.
- use a face mask if you feel well and do not have symptoms - there’s no evidence that using masks is of any benefit if you are not sick.
- wash your hands properly and regularly
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze
You should use a face mask if you:
- have or may have coronavirus
- are in close contact with someone who has or may have coronavirus
- are a healthcare worker in close contact with people who have or may have coronavirus.
Treatment for coronavirus
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. But many of the symptoms of the virus can be treated.
If you get the virus, your healthcare professional will advise treatment based on your symptoms.
Antibiotics do not work against coronavirus or any viruses. They only work against bacterial infections.
There is currently no vaccine to treat or protect against coronavirus.
The flu vaccine does not protect against coronavirus.
At-risk groups and coronavirus
We do not know for sure which groups are most at risk of complications if they catch coronavirus.
But it is likely you are more at risk if you catch coronavirus and:
- are 65 years of age and over
- have a long-term medical condition – for example, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or liver disease.
Pets and coronavirus
There is no evidence that pets such as cats and dogs can catch or spread coronavirus.
If you have general questions about the Corona Virus, please visit the HSE website https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html
If you have specific questions about you or a member of your family and wish to speak to someone about these concerns, then please RING US and we will advise you over the phone, or phone the HSE Phoneline on 1850 24 1850 . DO NOT COME DOWN TO THE PRACTICE unless we advise you to come in. This is to ensure you get the best treatment and to reduce the risk of infection to anyone else.