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About Covid-19

Covid-19, also called coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by a virus. Most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment.

However, some people may be more vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19 because of their age or because they have another health condition which puts them at greater risk.  For some people, it can be a more serious illness and their symptoms can last longer, they may even require medical attention.

Staying up to date with your Covid-19 vaccinations is the best way to protect against the disease if you are at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell. Find out about if you are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine on our adult vaccinations page

Symptoms of Covid-19

The symptoms of Covid-19 are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.

Most people feel better within a few weeks, but it can take longer to recover. For some people, it can be a more serious illness and their symptoms can last longer.

Covid-19 symptoms can include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

What to do if you test positive

If you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms you should take a lateral flow test immediately, even if your symptoms are mild.

If your test is positive you should:

  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day the test was taken if you or your child are under 18 years old. Children and young people tend to be infectious to other people for less time than adults
  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took your test if you are 18 years old or over
  • avoid meeting people who are more likely to get seriously ill from viruses, such as people with a weakened immune system, for 10 days after the day you took your test

If your test is negative but you continue to have symptoms, you should take another test on each of the next two days (three tests in total over three days).

If you have had symptoms of Covid-19 for 4 weeks or more, and you think you have long COVID, contact your local GP.

Treatments for Covid-19

The NHS offers treatment to people with COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill.

You’re eligible for a COVID-19 treatment assessment, without being admitted to hospital, if all the following apply:

  • you’re at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • you’re aged 12 or over
  • you have symptoms of COVID-19
  • you have tested positive for COVID-19

If you are positive and you are at higher risk from becoming seriously ill from Covid-19 contact us as soon as possible. Call 020 3196 3239 or email to see if you are eligible for treatment.

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