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How to stay healthy and happy during coronavirus outbreak

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Home has gathered coronavirus advice to help you stay safe and well

What are the best ways to stay informed?

Stay aware of the latest information on the Covid-19 outbreak, available on the websites and social media of the national Department of Health (www.health.gov.za), National Institute for Communicable Diseases (www.nicd.ac.za) and World Health Organisation (www.who.int).

The government has set up an active WhatsApp account where you can get scripted info: 060 012 3456. Just message the contact by saying “Hi”. Save it as Corona Support SA; you will then get a response with a number of prompts which you can use to get the information you need.

Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 029 999 from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday

Most people who become infected will experience mild illness and recover but it can be more severe for others.

How can I stay safe and prevent the spread of this virus?

The Health Department offers this advice:

Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol- based hand sanitiser. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser kills viruses that might be on your hands.

Maintain at least 1m distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain viruses. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the virus causing Covid-19 if the cougher is ill.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and make you sick.

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread viruses. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from illnesses such as colds, flu and Covid-19.

Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, phone your doctor and seek medical attention. Follow the directions of your local health facility. Why? The national and provincial departments of health will have the most up-to-date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your doctor to direct you to the right health facility. This will stop you spreading the virus in the waiting room.

Stay informed on the latest developments about Covid-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider and the national Department of Health on how to protect yourself and others from Covid-19. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on whether the virus is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

What are the protection measures for persons who are in, or have recently visited (past 14 days), areas where Covid-19 is spreading?

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and a slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible Covid-19 and other viruses.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travellers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of Covid-19 and other viruses.

What do I do if I have to “self-isolate”? You could be asked to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have travelled to certain affected areas, if you have been in close contact with someone with the coronavirus or are awaiting test results.

This means you should:

  • Stay at home. Not go to work, school or public areas. Not use public transport like buses, trains, or taxis. Avoid visitors to your home. Ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you – such as getting groceries, medication or other shopping.
  • You should make sure any items delivered are left outside, or on the porch, or as appropriate for your home.
  • If you live with other people, you might have to take extra measures to reduce the chance of onward infection, such as staying in a separate room and regularly cleaning shared kitchens and bathrooms.

You might need to do this for up to 14 days to reduce the spread of infection.

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