Coronavirus (also referred to as ‘COVID-19’) is part of a family of viruses that includes the common cold and more serious respiratory illnesses such as SARS. Coronavirus affects your lungs and airways and is spread very easily.
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
- a persistent, dry cough – typically this means you've been coughing a lot for more than an hour or you've had 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than normal)
- a high temperature (which means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back) or shivering a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Other symptoms people have reported include:
- a headache
- a sore throat
- feeling tired or exhausted
- an aching body
- stomach discomfort and diarrhoea
- feeling or being sick
- a loss of appetite
- feeling breathless
- a blocked or runny nose.
Coronavirus symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, like the common cold and the flu.
If your symptoms get worse, feel unmanageable, or you feel breathless, then you should call 111 or use the 111 online service on the NHS website.
Protection from Covid-19
Coronavirus spreads very easily and in much the same way as the common cold or flu – from coughs or sneezes – spread from person to person.
Although many of the previous rules and restrictions are no longer in place, there are still simple measures you can follow to help keep you and your loved ones safe and well. These include:
- regularly washing your hands with soap and water
- catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue or handkerchief
- wearing a face mask or covering
- avoiding close contact with people who are poorly
- meeting up with people outside or in well-ventilated spaces
- prioritising the people and events that matter most to you and reducing other social contact.
However, the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus is to make sure you're fully vaccinated – including any booster jabs you're eligible for. Booster jabs are important because research has shown that the protection the vaccines provide starts to decrease as time goes on. Plus, vaccines are being updated all the time to protect you from more recent variants of coronavirus.