Health

Guide to coronavirus symptoms

Coronavirus has spread to 166 countries or territories, including the UK, and claimed more than 8,600 lives. 

So, what is the disease and how does it spread? 

How do I protect myself?

The best thing is regular and thorough hand washing, preferably with soap and water.

Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs small droplets – packed with the virus – into the air. These can be breathed in, or cause an infection if you touch a surface they have landed on, then your eyes, nose or mouth. 

So, coughing and sneezing into tissues, not touching your face with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with infected people are important for limiting the spread.

Face masks do not provide effective protection, according to medical experts. 

What are the coronavirus symptoms?

Coronavirus infects the lungs. The symptoms start with a fever followed by a dry cough, which can lead to breathing problems. 

It takes five days on average to start showing the symptoms, scientists have said, but some people will get symptoms much later than this.

The incubation period lasts up to 14 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. But some researchers say it may be up to 24 days. 

People will be most infectious when they have symptoms, but there have been suggestions some can spread the virus even before they are sick. 

The early symptoms can easily be confused with other winter bugs including colds and flu.

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