If you do catch the Coronavirus, don’t panic! There really is no need, as 82% of Covid-19 cases are mild, and only 6% of patients need intensive care.
At the mild end of the scale, symptoms include a slight fever, fatigue and a cough. The majority of infected people can stay at home, rest and recover without hospital treatment. If you develop these symptoms and there’s a chance that you’ve been in contact with someone who has the virus, self-isolate and phone your GP, as you can only be tested if you are referred by a health professional.
Some patients experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhoea. Although rare, it’s also possible to be infected without developing any symptoms. In more serious cases, patients have difficulty breathing, develop severe pneumonia and need to be admitted to hospital for oxygen therapy.
How long does it take to recover?
The first thing anybody wants to know is when they can get back to normal. We’re anxious to know when we can return to regular family life and go back to work, whether it’s at home or in the office.
Most people who catch Covid-19 recover completely, and their symptoms are treated with bed rest, plenty of fluids and pain relief such as paracetamol. The fever should settle in less than a week, although the cough may linger, as it does with flu or the common cold.
Everyone is different, but on average the recovery time is about two weeks for mild cases, and three to eight weeks for patients who are seriously ill. Also, symptoms can fluctuate from day to day, so you could feel better one day, only to feel worse again the next.
How can I keep my family from becoming infected while I’m at home?
As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other members of the family. If possible, use a separate bathroom.
If you do need to be in the same room as other people, you should wear a face mask. If the face mask causes breathing difficulties, then your family members should wear face masks when they come into your room.
When can I go back to work?
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), you can return to work after 14 days of self-isolation, having undergone a medical evaluation to confirm your ability to work. This evaluation has two parts: a negative result on a Covid-19 test; and making sure that at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared and that you have been symptom-free for at least three days.
It’s important to give yourself time to rest before returning to work. If you can continue working from home, it’s best to do so.
After I feel well again, when will it be safe for me to go out in public?
Because tests have found viral genetic material in patients after they’ve recovered from Covid-19, it is best to assume that you may be contagious for some time and take precautions to avoid infecting others. Be sure to follow the instructions of your healthcare provider.