12 March 2020 Health & Wellbeing



We’ve all heard of it and seen it on the news. There’s a lot of speculation about the new COVID-19 virus that’s spreading, and a lot of misinformation and scaremongering all over social media. We’ve done our research with some reliable sources and compiled a fact sheet and some ways to protect yourself, as being informed is the first step to avoiding it!


WHAT actually is it?

Coronavirus is a broad term used to describe a range of illnesses ranging from a common cold to more severe illnesses such as SARS, which can pass between animals and humans. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, currently rated as a moderate risk to the UK public, and is not instant death as some sources have been saying!


HOW is it spread?

COVID-19 is thought to be spread in the same way similar viruses that we know of are spread. Bodily fluids such as cough droplets can transmit the virus either directly to another person (such as through a handshake) or onto surfaces where it can survive and be picked up by someone else. It is thought to survive for up to 12 hours on metal surfaces such as handrails, and 4-6 hours on fabrics.


WHAT are the symptoms?

The virus is more of a dry virus than a regular cold or flu, so if you have a runny nose, excessive sneezing or diarrhoea its more likely that you have a cold. Watch out for the following;

  • a dry cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness!

It can also lead to conditions such as pneumonia (where the lungs are affected and effectively fill with liquid making it hard to catch your breath), severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death in extreme cases. A good way to check this is by taking in a deep breath every morning when you wake up and holding it for 10 seconds. If this is difficult or causes you to cough then its best to get yourself checked out.


HOW can I protect myself?

As we don’t know a great deal about COVID-19 at the moment, the precautionary measures you can take are quite generic.


  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell



  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • panic buy items such as sanitiser, hand soap and loo roll (??) in bulk, as for preventative measures to work on a large scale then everyone needs to have access to them. Its common sense guys.
  • Leave the house and socialise if you are encountering any of the symptoms mentioned earlier


WHAT do I do if I think I have it?

If you think you’ve managed to contract COVID-19 (well done u) its important not to panic. Don’t visit your GP or hospital, instead ring 111 and explain your symptoms and anyone you’ve been in contact with recently. It is likely that you will have to self-quarantine at home for 2 weeks and just ride it out, but they will tell you if they think you need treatment.


WHO is most at risk?

People who have recently been to heavily infected places such as China and Italy are more likely to have or be carrying the virus. Those who are immunocompromised, have underlying health issues, are elderly or have illnesses such as cancer are more likely to be affected in a more severe way than otherwise healthy people. Even if healthy students aren’t likely to be badly affected by the virus this doesn’t mean you should disregard it completely; you come into contact with more of this vulnerable group on a day to day basis than you’d expect. Keep on top of hand washing and sanitising and stay home if you are encountering any symptoms.


Keep an eye out for any changes by checking the reliable sources below;