With the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak spreading speedily across the world, advice on how to stay safe is inevitably being requested.

Like us, you’ve probably seen the widespread panic across the news and thought, ‘should I learn more?’

A quick Google search will give you thousands of pages of information, but it’s important to know how to avoid transmission of the virus while steering clear of the fake news and hysteria.

But what is coronavirus?

COVID-19 is an illness that can have effects on the respiratory system (airways & lungs). This is a new illness caused by a virus named coronavirus.

How is it spread?

Coronavirus is thought to be spread through cough droplets (as other, similar viruses are) and not in food or on materials.

It is also known that these types of viruses are unable to stay alive outside of the body for very long.

What are the symptoms?

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the symptoms of coronavirus are pretty much the same as a common cold or the flu. For example:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature
  • Shortness of breath

Having the above symptoms does not mean that you necessarily have the virus.

Can you still go out?

Unless you have been advised by a medical professional to stay isolated in your home, there is no reason for you to not go to work or out in public.

If you think that you do have the coronavirus or have been in close contact with somebody who has it, DO NOT go to the hospital or your GP practice.

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service. You can use this service if you have no symptoms but have been to one of the following areas in the past 14 days:

Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, northern Italy, Iran, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand or Vietnam

Coronavirus, First Aid & Contact with Casualties

The Resuscitation Council UK state –

Because of the heightened awareness of the possibility that the victim may have COVID-19, Resuscitation Council UK offers this advice:

  • Recognise cardiac arrest by looking for the absence of signs of life and the absence of normal breathing. Do not listen or feel for breathing by placing your ear and cheek close to the patient’s mouth. If you are in any doubt about confirming cardiac arrest, the default position is to start chest compressions until help arrives.
  • Make sure an ambulance is on its way. If COVID 19 is suspected, tell them when you call 999.
  • If there is a perceived risk of infection, rescuers should attempt compression only CPR and early defibrillation until the ambulance (or advanced care team) arrives. Put hands together in the middle of the chest and push hard and fast.
  • Early use of a defibrillator significantly increases the person’s chances of survival and does not increase risk of infection.
  • If the rescuer has access to personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g. FFP3 face mask, disposable gloves, eye protection), these should be worn.
  • After performing compression-only CPR, all rescuers should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water; alcohol-based hand gel is a convenient alternative. They should also seek advice from the NHS 111 coronavirus advice service or medical adviser.

For the full article and advice, including advice for children, visit https://www.resus.org.uk/media/statements/resuscitation-council-uk-statements-on-covid-19-coronavirus-cpr-and-resuscitation/covid-community/

How to help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Avoid any close contact with anybody that may be unwell with the symptoms
  • Wash your hands often and well using plenty of soap – find out the best way here.
  • Use hand sanitiser regularly in between washing hands or if no soap and water is available
  • Put used tissues straight in the bin
  • Do not cough or sneeze directly into your hand. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover the nose and mouth
  • If your hands are not clean, do not touch your eyes, mouth or nose

    If you DO have coronavirus, how is it treated?

    It’s important to remember that antibiotics have no impact on any viruses. Coronavirus patients are currently being treated by relieving the symptoms while the body naturally fights the virus.

    At the moment, there is no curative treatment and it is important to remember to stay in total isolation for at least 14 days.

    Advice for employers and employees

    It is important to keep employees updated on what steps are being taken to reduce the risk of coronavirus in the workplace.

    For example, provide basic training to your managers to enable them to spot the signs and symptoms of the virus and give clear instructions on your company’s sickness policies. This should include details of who to contact in the event of an absence.

    As an employer, you may also wish to provide tissues and hand sanitiser as well as putting some posters up as a reminder for employees to regularly wash their hands with warm water and soap.

    Two cartoon men on a pink background with the text "the bottom line"

    We are in no way experts on the coronavirus but have sourced the above information from the NHS and World Health Organization websites.

    Use these links to visit the NHS 111 online Coronavirus service or to access the World Health Organizations current information




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    Natalie Gibson

    Natalie is a part of the team at SkillBase First Aid. She loves telling stories about how normal people become 'Superheroes on Standby' when they have completed a confidence-building SkillBase First Aid Training Course!


    Richard Craddock · March 3, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks Nat! Great article – I’ll definitely be sharing this!

    Hope Mathews · March 3, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    Good advice Nat, thanks 🙂

    Connor Kenney · March 3, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Really informative and well-written blog, thanks Natalie 🙂

    Jade · March 3, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks natalie very useful information ?

    Russ · March 3, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Great blog,Thanks Nat

    Rob Beale · March 3, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Great to have some clear advice, thanks Nat

    Laura R · March 4, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Thanks, Nat Great blog and really useful information

    Naomi · March 5, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Gald to see some no nonsense information instead of some the scaremongering that is circulating on social media in particular! Thanks!

    Derek · March 5, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you Nat useful information

    Andrew Blake · March 5, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    Great article, so refreshing to find sensible information! Thanks

    Stella Bunn · March 5, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Hello Thank you for this. I am fit and healthy but my husband has DVT and asthma so would this count as one of the pre existing medical conditions they say is more dangerous for people to have if they get coronavirus ? He is 55.
    Am worried, as some stories say it only kills the old over 60s or very sick and other stories says it has killed perfectly fit and healthy people. thank you

      Richard Craddock · March 5, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks for your enquiry! We would suggest that your husband calls his local surgery for advice, or you could call NHS 111. You might also find useful information by contacting Asthma UK.

    Jo · March 5, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, good read.
    Can I ask what if somebody has all the symptoms the doctors say ring 111 they have said they wouldn’t test due to not going to any of these countries, but has been to Vegas twice and mingled with big crowds hasn’t been well since returning on 26th February

      Richard Craddock · March 6, 2020 at 11:29 am

      Thanks for your enquiry Jo. If you are enquiring about a team member, it may be worth looking at the ACAS website as they have advice on there too about ‘self-isolation’. Other than that, as frustrating as it might be it is probably worth getting the person to call the surgery again, and asking for a telephone appointment with their GP.

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