In December 2019, a new coronavirus affecting humans was identified. This virus was named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease this virus causes is called Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19
There is a 14-day incubation period from when a person is infected with SARS-CoV-2 to when the person develops symptoms. This means it can take up to 14 days before symptoms of COVID-19 appear. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Fever or a high temperature i.e. 38 degrees Celsius or above
- Cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – whereby you cannot smell or taste
- anything or things smell or taste different to normal
If you have any common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should self isolate and phone your GP straight away to get a coronavirus test. Further information on what to do can be found on the HSE website.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
COVID-19 is spread through droplets that come from a person’s nose and mouth. For example, from someone who is talking loud, singing, shouting, coughing or sneezing.
Covid-19 is also transmitted when people leave infected droplets on the objects and surfaces they touch, sneeze or cough on. Other people may touch these objects or surfaces and transfer the infected droplets into their their eyes, noses or mouths by not cleaning their hands before touching their eyes, nose or mouth. This is why it is essential to thoroughly clean hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub product, and to clean surfaces regularly.
How to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19?
To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and. If soap and water are not available, use hand gels (alcohol hand rub) with at least 60% alcohol content. If you have used hand gels 5 times in a row, you must wash your hands
- Avoid touching your face with your hands
- Maintain a minimum of 2-meters distance between people
- Wear a face mask
- Do NOT cough or sneeze into your hand. Instead, use a tissue to cover the mouth and nose, dispose of the tissue in a bin immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your bent elbow
Are there training courses available on COVID-19?
St John Ambulance Ireland developed an online upskilling course for first aiders to equip first aiders with the up to date information and procedures on treating patients with unknown or suspected Covid-19. More information on this course can be found by going to our courses page or by clicking the link .
What additional resources are available
COVID-19 is a new disease, please consult the HSE website regularly to remain up to date with the latest information and guidance around COVID-19. The following websites provide additional information on COVID-19
- Health Services Executive (HSE) Ireland
- HSE Covid-19 app
- Health Protection Survelliance Center (HPSC) Ireland
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
The following websites provide information on returning to work in the context of COVID-19