Updated: Apr 23, 2020
What is coronavirus? What is COVID-19?
A coronavirus is a type of virus that can cause a range of different illnesses, including the common cold. The name coronavirus comes from the appearance and structure of the virus which looks like a crown, or corona.
COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by a new, or novel, type of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Like many other respiratory diseases, COVID-19 may involve the following mild symptoms:
· Fever or chills
· Sore throat
· Runny nose
Although, generally mild, COVID-19 can have more serious complications like:
· Trouble breathing
Remember to call 000 if you require emergency help.
What to do if you feel unwell?
Call 000 for emergency help if you are having trouble breathing or are feeling severely unwell.
To find out if you need to seek medical help, use the healthdirect Symptom Checker.
For information on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), call the Australian Government's National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
COVID-19 and the flu
Both COVID-19 and the flu are respiratory diseases, and have very similar symptoms, however they are caused by different types of viruses.
While there is a vaccination for the flu, there currently isn’t a vaccine for COVID-19.
Although the flu vaccine doesn’t protect against COVID-19, it will reduce the likelihood of becoming seriously ill with the flu. It is possible to contract both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which can result in more serious symptoms than having COVID-19 on its own. Because COVID-19 is such a new disease, there isn’t a population immunity to it, so everyone may be susceptible to infection. This is why the annual flu vaccine is more important than ever this year.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is highly contagious and is spread mainly via respiratory droplets from infected individuals coughing or sneezing.
These droplets may be dispersed in the air around an infected person, or may remain on surfaces, in some cases up to days after it is initially contaminated.
Touching these droplets and then touching your face is one of the most common ways that the virus can spread.
Being in direct close contact with someone who is infectious can also spread the virus. This can mean being in an enclosed space with the person for 2 hours, or face-to-face contact with them for 15 minutes.
How to stop the spread?
The federal government have instated strict guidelines on how the public can limit the spread of the virus and the disease. Visit the federal Department of Health website for more information.
This is a term that is common these days and refers to avoiding close contact and keeping yourself at least 1.5 metres away from anyone else at any one time, whether that is in your workplace, in the community, or at home.
Coughing and sneezing
Coughing or sneezing into the crook of your arm will reduce the risk of any airborne particles from spreading any respiratory virus – whether that’s COVID-19 or flu.
Regularly washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time will ensure that the virus is destroyed if you have inadvertently come into contact with it.
If hand washing is inconvenient or inaccessible, using alcohol-based hand sanitisers is also a good alternative.
If you have been tested positive for COVID-19, have been in close contact with a confirmed case or have returned from interstate or overseas, you will need to self-isolate by staying at home, or in a hotel room, for a full 14 days.