• Coronavirus

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    17 March 2020

    Given the fake reporting circulating on social media about coronavirus I thought I would provide some facts and advice directly from the NHS.

    What are the symptoms? These are a new dry persistent cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath but these do not mean you have the illness as they are similar to other illnesses, such as cold and flu. 

    How is it spread? Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person. Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. It is very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.

    How do I avoid catching or spreading coronavirus? Wash your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitiser, often, for at least 20 seconds at a time. Singing happy birthday twice while you do this gives you an idea of how long you should wash your hands for. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (don’t use your hands) when you cough or sneeze, put used tissues in the bin and wash your hands. Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

    Where should I go to check if I need medical help? We are facing a rapidly evolving situation and a virus about which there is much to learn. So it is best to keep up to date with the latest advice via broadcast news outlets or by visiting .Gov.UK. For NHS advice regarding symptoms and medical help visit If you do not have internet access you can ring 111. But do not automatically go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital at the first sign of feeling unwell – check the website or call 111 first for advice. 

    What is the treatment? Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses. Any treatment will aim to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness. You'll need to stay in isolation away from other people until you've recovered.

    One final thought - on panic buying. Please don’t. The country has an ample supply of food and an excellent distribution network. There is more than enough for everyone. Please think of others and buy sensibly. 

    Please also look out for each other whilst sticking closely to Government guidance. We have fantastically strong local communities and at this time I know that they will rise to the challenges that lie in the months ahead.

    For more from Mel follow him on twitter @MelJStride or visit