By the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS)

You are probably getting bombarded with information as well as misinformation. Yet as we continually learn more about COVID-19, it can help to reacquaint yourself with some basic information. Remember, information is constantly being updated due to the rapidly increasing knowledge of the virus.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is short for “coronavirus disease 2019 and is the official name given by the World Health Organisation to the disease caused by this newly identified coronavirus. COVID-19 is an illness that affects the respiratory system. The virus belongs to the same family as SARS and MERS which have previously caused diseases.

How is the virus transmitted?

Direct contact with someone infected with the virus through droplets emitted from coughing or sneezing (at a distance of less than two metres)

Touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes

What are the common symptoms of the infection?

The symptoms are similar to those of the flu:

Fever

Dry cough

Shortness of breath

Fatigue and muscle weakness

Loss of taste and smell

In more severe cases:

Pneumonia

Breathing difficulties

Symptoms can be mild to severe and can show from two to 14 days following exposure to the virus. In some cases, symptoms showed up after up to 24 days.

What can I do to avoid getting infected?

1. Maintain at least one metre between yourself and others

2. Avoid touching your eyes or your nose

3. Follow the correct cough etiquette: cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and throw used tissues in a closed bin

4. Wash your hands frequently with running water and soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% at least) if soap and running water are not available

5. Avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms of the flu

6. Seek medical attention if you or your child have the above symptoms

7. Clean and disinfect tools and surfaces that are touched and used frequently

8. Avoid social kissing in gatherings and public events

9. Avoid crowded places

10. Frequently ventilate closed areas and spaces

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