How many days does it take for the virus symptoms to show? Dr Hilary answers your coronavirus questions
WITH most of us stuck indoors as the nationwide lockdown continues, it can be difficult to know what advice to follow.
But don’t fear, Dr Hilary Jones – health editor for ITV’s Good Morning Britain and Lorraine – is on hand all this week to cut through the confusion and explain how the virus works and how to keep you and your family safe. Thousands of you have been in touch so far. If you would like to put your question to Dr Hilary, go to thesun.co.uk/drhilary. Below he offers his expert advice on your current concerns in work and at home.
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A: We think the incubation period is between five to six days in most cases, so symptoms would show from then after exposure to the virus.
Q: Could I have had the virus without knowing?
A: Yes. Lots of people will have had very mild, or in some cases no symptoms, so it is possible that people have had it without knowing. Unfortunately we don’t have enough testing to know how many people have had it.
Q: What is the difference between coronavirus and hay fever symptoms?
A: Hay fever symptoms are usually itchy, red eyes and, for people who have asthma, some get wheezing. It can also cause a runny, itchy or bunged-up nose. Coronavirus can cause people with asthma to have wheezing but the two main symptoms of the virus are a dry, persistent cough that is new and a high fever. Despite its name, hay fever does not cause a fever.
Q: What are the guidelines regarding bedding and towels when you are in self-isolation?
A: If someone is in self-isolation because they are showing symptoms of the virus they should use their own bedding, pillows, towels and toiletries if they live with other people. People should also use their own cutlery and crockery. They should visit the bathroom last and clean hard surfaces with a household bleach product.
Q: My daughter and her partner are key workers on shifts and are struggling to arrange childcare. Is it safe to look after my grandchildren?
A: If you are over 70 you should avoid looking after your grandchildren if possible because older people are more vulnerable and because children can carry and transmit the virus without having symptoms.
Q: I’m a care worker and also a carer for my disabled husband, who has heart failure and is on immunosuppressant medication. He has been told by the Government to isolate for 12 weeks. Do I have to stop work and isolate as well in case I catch the virus from work?
A: Your husband is in the high-risk group and needs to keep a physical distance from everybody else. As you are a care worker, you will be coming into contact with other people but because you are living together you don’t need to self-isolate unless you get symptoms. You still need to care for your husband and you cannot always keep a two-metre distance from him.
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Q: I live alone and have had the virus symptoms. I have been self-isolating for seven days. When is it safe to stop self-isolating?
A: If you live alone, the seven-day self- isolation period begins the day your symptoms start. If after seven days, your symptoms have gone and you are well, you can carry on as normal, even if you still have a cough. But if you still feel unwell, you must stay at home until you feel completely better.
Q: What is the best way to protect our mental health during lockdown? I have a family member constantly crying and who has locked herself in her room.
A: It’s understandable and normal that people feel like your family member. It’s a worrying time for everybody. But it is important to remember the virus is usually a mild illness. Most people will recover. If you find watching the news upsetting then I would advise switching it off and finding something that makes you feel more relaxed and happy, such as listening to your favourite music, getting out in your garden or doing some exercise, which releases happy hormones. You can also call a friend as it can help to share your anxiety.
Q: My partner is seven months pregnant and I suffer from asthma, plus we have a two-year-old daughter with breathing problems. We are self-isolating but when should I go back to work? I can’t work from home.
A: Your partner is in the vulnerable group and should be staying at home, as should your daughter. You have asthma so you should be staying at home unless it is very controlled. If your asthma is at all frequent, you should not be going to work.
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Q: I have no cough or temperature but I am suffering fatigue, shortness of breath and have lost my sense of taste. Someone told me these are still symptoms of the virus. Is this true?
A: For those who have very mild symptoms of coronavirus, some have only experienced a loss of sense of taste and smell. That is not a reason to self-isolate, though. It could be down to an allergy or an ordinary cold.
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Q: I am due to go for an MRI next week for prostate cancer. I am 69, wheelchair-bound and have other problems. Is it safe for me to go?
A: Diagnostic tests like this are still important as they determine what treatment you should be having. Check with your specialist or GP if you can by phone, or call the MRI screening unit to ask its advice. If the scan is important for clinical reasons you can still go to hospital, but you will need to physically distance yourself from other patients and staff and get home as soon as possible afterwards.
Q: I work at Royal Mail as a sorter and work closely with colleagues. Now the coronavirus is spreading fast, should I stay at home?
A: Physical distancing is key to anyone who still remains at work. Your work is important and as long as you are not too close to your colleagues there is no reason why you cannot continue.
Think of all the people working in hospitals, at 111 call centres and all the paramedics seeing patients. They have to work together with many other colleagues, but they will physically distance themselves as much as possible and that’s all we can ask them to do.
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