Last Updated: 03/08/2021 at 16:18
Coronavirus is the name given to a group of viruses that can cause you to feel unwell. Sometimes you might have symptoms similar to a cold or flu, but the COVID-19 virus that is currently being talked about has also led to serious illness and death.
It can be scary hearing about what's happening around the world, but there are some things you can do to help prevent yourself from catching the virus, stop the spread of it to others, and look after your mental health if you're feeling anxious or worried about it.
1. It's OK to be worried
It's totally normal to be feeling a little anxious about what's going on right now, especially when things seem uncertain. Whilst it's important to take the NHS and government advice seriously and keep updated via official sources, it's OK if you need to take a break to look after your mental health. Take a look at our article about looking after your mental wellbeing during the outbreak for some more tips.
Also, NHS Inform have added a range of resources to their website to help people look after their mental health.
2. Coughs and sneezes
If you feel a cough or sneeze coming, make sure you do it in a tissue. It prevents bacteria getting into the air and possibly spreading to someone else.
If you don't have tissues to hand and you're not going to be able to get a tissue on time, cough or sneeze into your sleeve at your elbow.
It's always a good idea to keep a pack of tissues on you, just in case!
3. Follow the guidance and self-isolate
The current advice states that if you have a new continuous cough, or a fever, or loss of/change in smell or taste that you should self-isolate and book a PCR test imediately.
Book a test by going online to www.nhsinform.scot or call 0800 028 2816. You will be asked to self-isolate while the test is arranged and should continue to do so until you receive the results. You will receive the results of your test by text to the mobile phone of the person who booked the test, these should be received within 48 hours. If you test positive, you should follow the guidance on the NHS Inform website about self-isolating.
As part of this process, you will be asked to identify anyone you have come into close contact with. Specialist tracers will then get in touch with these people and inform them that they will have to isolate for 10 days unless they are double vaccinated and have received their latest dose at least 2 weeks ago and have received a negative PCR test. Those aged 5-17 will no longer have to isolate if they are identified as a close contact whether they have been vaccinated or not, as long as they receive a negative PCR test result.
You must isolate between taking a PCR test and receiving the results.
Self-isolation means staying at home without having any contact with other people - which if you're living at home with parents or carers and possibly siblings, might mean sticking to your bedroom.
4. Avoid spreading the virus
You must wear a face covering in shops, libraries, museums, places of worship, on public transport and in public transport premises such as train stations.
Official reports have so far suggested that young people without underlying health issues are experiencing mostly mild symptoms and are recovering quickly. However, that doesn't mean that if you think you have symptoms but feel OK you should go about your business.
Spreading the virus can be dangerous for older people and people with other health concerns such as asthma, diabetes and heart problems. Catching COVID-19 could be potentially fatal for someone in those circumstances, so make sure to follow the official advice.
When going outside or visiting friends and family it is really important that you do everything you can to avoid spreading the virus by:
- checking our handy article that will keep you updated on the current guidance around coronavirus, including for meeting other people
- planning ahead by taking tissues, hand sanitiser and face coverings when you're out and about
- having good hand and cough hygiene (washing your hands regularly and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze)
- avoiding touching surfaces that other people have touched, for example by taking your own food and cutlery to a picnic, or cleaning surfaces regularly, for example after someone from a different household has touched a surface
- washing your hands for at least 20 seconds when you return home
Find out more about the different phases of exiting lockdown and what they mean.
5. Stick to the facts
Panic can be caused by seeing and sharing fake news - unfortunately there can be a lot of information out there that just isn't factual.
Whether it's on social media or other websites, make sure you're checking sources before sharing them yourself, and looking for at least two other similar accounts to what you've read or seen to make sure it's correct.
The best way to avoid fake news is to stick to the NHS Inform and Scottish Government websites for the latest news and updates.
6. Listen and support
At times like these, often the best thing that you can do is make sure you're listening to each other and supporting each other to get through a difficult time.
Whether in your local community, or amongst family and friends, remember that others might be going through a hard time too - and you can help by following the steps above.
More information from Young Scot on Coronavirus (COVID-19)