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What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are viruses which cause respiratory symptoms ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). They are a family of viruses which are present both in humans and in animals.

They are spread from one person to another through:
- Coughing and sneezing (via droplets)
- Hands which have become co​ntaminated with the virus after touching contaminated surfaces or
- Through direct contact with a person infected with the coronavirus (such as caring for a sick person)

What are the symptoms?
From the information known to date, the common symptoms are one or more of the below:
- Fever
- Cough
- Sore throat
- Runny / blocked nose
- Tiredness
- Loss of smell
- Loss of taste
- Diarrhoea or vomiting
- Sneezing
- Muscle pain
- Shortness of breath

The most common symptoms include:
- Fever
- Cough
- Sore throat

What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you have any of the above symptoms, please stay at home and call the Public Health helpline on 111. If you have symptoms of respiratory illness like cough, contact your GP or Health Centre. If you have severe symptoms such as severe shortness of breath, call 112 immediately.

If your symptoms get worse please call your family doctor or Primary Care on 21222444. In the event of a positive swab result, where the virus responsible for Covid-19 is detected, the person will be contacted and instructed by Public Health accordingly.​

How severe is the infection?
It is generally mild, especially for children and young people, ​but may also result in requirement of medical care and hospitalisation. In some cases, the infection can cause severe pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome that can lead to death.

How long does it take for symptoms to develo​p?
The incubation period, time between contamination and the appearance of the first symptoms can take between 2 to 14 days.

How is Covid-19 Coronavirus spread?
The Covid-19 infection is transmitted by people carrying the virus. The disease can be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets expelled from the nose or mouth when a person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can persist for a few hours on objects or surfaces around the person in question. An infection with Covid-19 can occur if you touch these objects or surfaces and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Covid-19 can also be contracted by inhaling droplets from a sick person who has just coughed or sneezed. Therefore, it is important to keep a distance of more than two metres from a sick person and to respect basic hygiene measures.

Is there a treatment or a vaccine?
No specific treatment exists. Treatment given by a medical doctor is to control the symptoms. There are currently various vaccines which have been approved by the European Medicines Authority and others are in the process of being approved. Even if you are vaccinated, it is still important to maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from others, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds and avoid meeting people outside your bubble.  This is very important to prevent infection or contain further spread of an infection.

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