The United Kingdom is under siege by not one, but perhaps two new mutated strains of coronavirus, which appear to be fueling a wave of cases. The new variant, which early reports suggest is particularly portable among younger people, seems more contagious than its predecessor. Much of the UK is either in level 4 restrictions or is immediately moving towards the limit to try to combat the escalating situation.
Amid growing fears that these drastic new measures will not stop the outbreak, the general public must play a role in stopping the spread.
It is important to be vigilant about possible warning signs and to isolate yourself if you notice them.
So, what should I look out for?
The NHS singles out three main symptoms associated with COVID-19:
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- High temperature – this means that it is hot to touch your chest or back (you do not need to measure the temperature)
- New, continuous cough – this means you cough for more than an hour or 3 or more episodes of cough in 24 hours (if you cough normally, it can be worse than usual)
- Loss or change in the sense of smell or taste – this means that you have noticed that you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different than usual.
What became quite clear during the pandemic is that COVID-19 can also produce a number of less obvious symptoms.
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As the researchers point out, you can easily test yourself every day by sniffing something strong smelling, like coffee or scented candles or soap.
“Based on our analysis, we believe that people who have any suspicious symptoms should self-isolate and test, even if they don’t have a‘ classic triad, ’” they note.
Commenting on the current wave, Tim Spector OBE, a leading scientist in the ZOE COVID Symptom Study application and a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said:
“Testing alone will not stop the spread, just like previous waves.
People need to know all the symptoms, not just focus on the three “official” symptoms that miss over 20 percent of cases. Headache, fatigue, diarrhea, muscle aches, skipping meals, and confusion are just some of the other symptoms associated with COVID-19.
“If anyone suffers from any of these in the coming weeks, stay home, isolate yourself and take a test.”
How to answer
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, check for coronavirus as soon as possible.
You and everyone you live with should stay home and have no visitors until you get the test result – leave your home just to take the test.
Everyone in your support bubble should stay home if you have been in close contact with them since the onset of symptoms or for 48 hours before they started.
A support bubble is a place where someone who lives alone (or only with their children) can meet people from another household.
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19), but you can often alleviate symptoms at home until you recover.
“If you have a cough, it’s best to avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit up straight instead,” advises the NHS.