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Coronavirus - strain covid-19 (update)

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We recognise that advice is changing very rapidly in response to measures to help mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus. It is important people stay up to date on what is currently being advised from the official NHS sites and we would advise you to follow these links for the most current advice as it may change faster than our blog. It is essential you read the guidance on these sites if you suspect you may have the coronavirus as things change quickly in relation to the advice offered, who to contact and when:

What is the coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. This strain, covid-19, is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in January 2020.

What are the symptoms?

The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has covid-19 infection:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath

What to do if you are worried

The latest advice and developments on the covid-19 situation can be found on the GOV.UK website also on www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus.

Preventing the spread of infection

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • washing your hands often - with soap and water or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available - this is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue.
  • people who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend work, college, other places where they may be with people
  • People should wash their hands:
    • before leaving home
    • on arrival at work/other places may be attending
    • after using the toilet
    • after breaks and sporting activities
    • before food preparation
    • before eating any food, including snacks (ensuring food such as crisps and sandwiches should not be left open for communal sharing unless individually wrapped)
    • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
    • crockery and cutlery in shared kitchen areas should be cleaned with warm water and detergent and dried thoroughly

Use a household cleaner that is active against viruses and bacteria, clean all surfaces every day such as:

  • counters
  • table-tops
  • doorknobs
  • bathroom fixtures
  • toilets and toilet handles
  • phones
  • keyboards
  • tablets

Follow the instructions on the product label and check they can be used on the surface being cleaned. Wash hands with soap and water after cleaning surfaces and handling clothing and bedding. You should wash laundry using the highest temperature setting indicated on the garment care label. Waste disposed of as usual but avoid putting hands into bins to empty them if they have used hankies in them.

Generally, infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. See below for resources from charities for different groups.

  1. Diabetes UK has provided an updated information page for people living with diabetes.
  2. Asthma UK has released a blog post with advice for people with asthma.
  3. The British Heart Foundation has published guidance for people with health problems.
  4. The National Eczema Society has offered advice on handwashing techniques for people with eczema and other skin conditions.
  5. SignHealth has created British Sign Language (BSL) videos to help deaf BSL users either working in charities or receiving support.
  6. Carers UK has produced recommendations for carers.
  7. Housing Justice has issued specialised advice to homeless shelters. Glass Door is emphasising the importance of handwashing and has boosted their stock of hand gels kept in their vans that move between shelters. Pathway and Crisis have called on the government for guidance on how best to protect homeless people against coronavirus.
  8. Full Fact has generated a fact check page on covid-19 to help dispel any false information.
  9. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Primary Immunodeficiency UK and the Mental Health Foundation have all issued advice and support.

What does self-isolation mean?

People who are self-isolating should remain at home and should not go to work, school or public areas.

  • You should avoid close contact with others by avoiding having visitors not using taxis or public transport
  • asking a friend or neighbour to get any shopping you require or arranging for a delivery that can be left at your door
  • read the RSPCA link re caring for pets in the useful links section if you are worried about your pets during this time
  • Pharmacies can often arrange delivery of any medicines you take regularly if additional supplies are required while you are self-isolating. If you do not think you can manage this, please phone your local Health Protection Team and tell them in advance, so they can plan ways to help you.
  • During self-isolation, you should stay at home and avoid public places. Where possible, contact a friend or family member to take your children to school, as long as the children have not travelled with you to the risk areas or had contact with a case
  • If it is a medical emergency and you need to phone an ambulance you should inform the call handler that you are in self-isolation for coronavirus
  • As you are isolating at home you cannot travel. This is only temporary for your 14-day monitoring period, so you can re-arrange your travel for after that ends. If you have travel insurance, you might want to contact your insurer and explain that you will not be able to travel for health reasons.
  • avoiding intimate contact (including kissing and sexual intercourse)
  • not sharing towels, clothes, toothbrushes or razors

The more informed we are of the facts, the less anxious we can become, the more we know things we can do, the more in control we feel, which again can make us less anxious. There are a lot of people working hard to try and mitigate the impact of this virus here in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, we can all play a part by being a little more careful not to spread infection, to wash our hands and surfaces regularly and to retain a sense of balance and kindness to each other. A little kindness can go a long way in helping reduce suffering in most situations.

Useful links

The Government's new Coronavirus action plan (www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan.

Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses. - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses.

Universal Credit and CoronavirusThis link may be useful if you want to know more about self-isolating for the coronavirus if you are on Universal Credit. The key thing to remember is, you need to inform your job coach online or by phone as soon as possible to avoid being sanctioned.- www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

What does social distancing mean? - https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/03/04/coronavirus-covid-19-what-is-social-distancing/

RSPCA How to care for your pets if you need to you are ill or need self-isolate - www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/latest/blogs/details/-/articleName/how-to-care-for-your-pets-if-you-re-ill-or-have-to-self-isolate-due-to-coronavirus

Travel advise abroad

The FCO website offers the latest information. www.gov.uk/guidance/how-the-foreign-commonwealth-office-puts-together-travel-advice

Looking after your mental health

www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak

Checklist for community organisations

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/checklist.html

A report produced by a charity working with people who are homeless

www.homeless.org.uk/connect/blogs/2020/mar/05/covid-19-coronavirus-outbreak

To keep updated with category 1 and 2 areas visit -  www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas-with-implications-for-returning-travellers-or-visitors-arriving-in-the-uk

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Useful/Emergency Contacts

  • Silverline 0800 4 70 80 90
  • Childeline 0800 1111
  • ParentLine 08000 28 22 33
  • Samaritans 116 123
  • Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87
  • NHS 111
  • Gamblers anonymous 0370 050 8881
  • Narcotics anonymous 0300 999 1212
  • Alcoholics anonymous 0800 9177 6506
  • CALM 0800 58 58 58
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