The COVID-19 situation around the world is steadily advancing. There are fears and concerns everywhere.
To help you understand and deal with the situation better and take care of yourself and your loved ones while you are in Australia, we have answers to some of the common questions about COVID-19
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can affect both animals & humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the 2019 outbreak COVID-19.
How does COVID-19 spread?
People catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person-to-person through small droplets from the nose or mouth that spread when the infected person coughs or exhales. These droplets can land on other people or the objects around them. Other people catch COVID-19 when they touch these objects or surfaces and touch their eyes, nose or mouth. It can also spread to other people if they inhale the droplets of the infected person who coughs or exhales droplets.
COVID-19 has been termed ‘Novel Coronavirus’ for the fact that the world has encountered this kind of virus for the first time in history. Research is still on about the ways it spreads and the drugs to counteract it. But as with all other respiratory diseases, it is advised to stay away at least 1.5 meters from the affected person or maintain this recommended distance from general public.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The common symptoms after 2-14 days of exposure include –
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
Online symptom checker
You can also use the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom checker → aus.gov.au/symptom-checker
What if I think I am exposed to COVID-19?
If you are sick and think you have symptoms, book an appointment to seek medical advice. Your doctor will tell you if you should be tested and will arrange for a test if needed.
Find your nearest health centre in Australia here – aus.gov.au/health-services
How can I protect myself & others?
It is crucial for everyone to follow good hygiene.
- Isolate yourself and stay at home. Step out only in case of an emergency.
- Do not let the visitors in. Only the people who usually live with you should be in your home.
- Cover your cough & sneeze with the inside of your elbow or a tissue. Dispose of used tissues in a separate trash can. Immediately wash your hands thoroughly for 20 secs with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Wash your hands often with soap & water (including before & after eating and after going to the toilet).
- Routinely clean and disinfect the entire house and all the frequently used objects such as mobile phones, keys, wallets, door knobs, taps, and desks.
- Allow more fresh air into the house or adjust air conditioning.
- If you are well there is not need to wear surgical masks inside. But if you are going out, wear a surgical ask to avoid risk to others.
- Wherever possible, keep up normal daily routines. Eat well and exercise.
If there is a sick person at home –
- The number of carers should be at a minimum. Keep the person in a single room. Keep the ‘sick room’ door closed as much as possible. Keep the sick person’s essentials separate. Let that person use a separate bathroom.
- Both the carer and the sick person should wear a surgical mask.
- Protect other vulnerable people by keeping them away from the sick person. Vulnerable group including older adults and people of any age with underlying medical conditions like Diabetes, Asthma, other chronic respiratory ailments, people with HIV, or Cancer.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is the practice of distancing yourself from other people to restrict/ slow the spread of COVID-19 virus.
- The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
- It is essential to stay away 1.5 meters from other people to avoid getting infected.
- Stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to step out
- Avoid physical greetings like handshakes, hugs, and kisses
- Avoid crowded places
- Use tap & pay instead of cash
- Go to work or education spots only if you are unable to carry out the operations at home. In offices – Hold meetings via video conferencing or phone calls. Put off large meetings to a later date.
- Social distancing is especially important for older adults and people with other underlying medical conditions.
Is there a treatment for COVID-19?
Currently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials to evaluate potential treatments. But if you are infected, you will receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
Contact details and websites of the local state & territory health departments in Australia can be found here- https://www.health.gov.au/about-us/contact-us/local-state-and-territory-health-departments