COVID-19 Symptoms 

By now you are probably well versed in the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus. However, as each new day brings fresh information, you should be constantly updating your knowledge on what to look out for. But, remember that not everything you see on social media is fact. There are a number of commonly believed coronavirus myths that can play havoc in getting people tested and treated on time. Be sure to fact check each article or news piece you come across and stick to tried and trusted sources, such as the NICD website and WHO.

To recap, here are some of the most commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19:

COVID-19 symptoms can take between 2 - 14 days to present after infection. Some people may present with no symptoms at all, as well. These people are nevertheless contagious and you should self-isolate if tested positive for the coronavirus. If you are having trouble differentiating your symptoms from that of allergies, colds or flu, click here.

COVID-19 symptoms

You're Showing Symptoms, What Now?

If you start to experience COVID-19 symptoms, there are a few crucial steps to follow. However, you must remember that approximately 80% of people who test positive will experience mild to moderate symptoms and will make a full recovery within 14 to 30 days.

1. Don't Panic

It is imperative that you do not panic if you begin to feel ill.

COVID 19 symptoms

2. Call Your Doctor Or The National COVID-19 Hotline

3. Keep Isolating

For more educational resources, health tips and the latest news regarding COVID-19, visit our coronavirus section.

1. COVID-19 cannot be spread in areas with hot or humid climates

False. COVID-19 has been shown to spread in all climates, including hot and humid areas. There is similarly no evidence to suggest that the virus cannot survive in snow conditions or extremely cold weather. According to the World Health Organisation, you can contract the coronavirus no matter how hot or cool it is. Exposing yourself to temperatures higher than 25° C or excess sun exposure will also not prevent you from catching the virus. As we know, the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to maintain good hygiene and physical distancing.

2. COVID-19 is a biological / technological weapon

False. There have been many claims made about COVID-19 being engineered in a laboratory to be used as a biological weapon. Furthermore, there is no truth to the conspiracy theory pertaining to the introduction of 5G and the outbreak of the coronavirus. Scientists conclude that the virus most likely mutated from an existing virus found in bats, then passed through an intermediary animal and onto humans.

3. There is a vaccine for the virus

False. There is no vaccine for the COVID-19 virus yet. It has been estimated that it will take been 12 - 18 months to develop a vaccine that is safe and effective in humans. There is also no truth to the idea that other kinds of vaccines such as the flu shot and pneumonia vaccine will prevent a person from contracting the coronavirus. However, these vaccines may assist in lessening severe respiratory symptoms should you contract the virus, and are thus recommended for the elderly, health care workers and other vulnerable populations.

4. Drinking hot water and eating raw garlic will protect you from the virus

False. While home remedies such as drinking hot lemon water with honey or eating raw garlic are wonderful for soothing cold and flu-like ailments, they cannot protect you against the new coronavirus. Similarly, gargling with salt water or drinking alcohol will not flush the virus from your system. There is no reason not to dose up on vitamin supplements and to increase your fresh fruit and vegetable intake for a good immune boost, but in truth there is little proof that this will protect you from contracting the virus.

5. Mosquitoes can transmit the new coronavirus

False. There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be spread from person to person through mosquito bites. The coronavirus is a respiratory disease, primarily spread through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. These droplets can also land on surfaces which may be touched by many people. The amount of time which the virus can survive on surfaces has not yet been determined. This is why it is important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water and to avoid touching your face.  

6. You can transmit the virus to your pets

Possibly. The CDC has confirmed that COVID-19 is zoontonic, meaning that it can spread between humans and animals in some cases. However, it is important to note that it is unlikely that your household pet will be able to infect you with the virus. But, there have been a few reported cases of dogs, cats and tigers contracting the virus from people with COVID-19. If you feel ill or have tested positive for the virus, it is best to distance yourself from your pets, as difficult as it may be. If possible, get someone else to look after them while you remain in isolation. Alternatively, make sure to always wash your hands before and after interacting with your pet.

COVID-19 myths

7. Only older people are susceptible to the coronavirus

False. The virus can infect a person of any age. However, older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

8. You should not take ibuprofen to treat COVID-19 symptoms

Possibly. In mid-March, WHO made a statement advising people to avoid taking ibuprofen to treat symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever. The organisation has since retracted this statement due to a lack of conclusive evidence proving that ibuprofen can worsen respiratory symptoms. Until such evidence is found, it may be worthwhile sticking to taking paracetamol to treat COVID-19 related fever symptoms. However, there is no specific recommended medication to treat the virus as yet. Please consult with a medical professional before taking medication.

9. You should stockpile food, toiletries and medication

False. Panic buying has been one of the worst consequences of the rapid spread of fake news. President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the issue of food shortage in his national address on Monday, 23 March 2020, saying that there is no need to empty the stores of stock. Buy enough to last you a week at a time and please consider others, especially the elderly, before clearing out shelves. If you are anxious about running out of toilet paper in particular, check out this handy calculator.

COVID-19 myths

10. We should all wear masks and latex gloves when in public

Masks? Yes. The South African government has stated that all citizens should wear cloth face masks when out in public. This regulation comes into full effect on Friday, 01 May 2020, as level 4 lockdown begins. Remember to not touch your mask with unclean hands and to wash it with soap and water after each use.

Gloves? Possibly. There is much debate around the effectiveness of latex gloves in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Gloves pose a potential risk of increased infection if handled incorrectly. Do not touch your face while wearing gloves and always discard of used gloves. There is a severe shortage of these supplies for medical staff as well, so if possible please only wear them if you are caring for someone who is ill or are ill yourself. 

Have you come across any other harmful COVID-19 myths on social media? Let us know about them and please remember to always check facts before sharing information. Anyone sharing fake news is liable for prosecution. 

Allergies

Peak allergy season in Joburg is between late August to mid-April. However, if you suffer from perennial allergies, you may experience common symptoms all year round. As pollen levels rise, your nasal passages become inflamed, causing the typical facial tenderness; dark circles beneath your eyes; a runny, itchy nose and watery eyes associated with hay fever allergies. Lesser known symptoms caused by allergies include:

Hay fever sufferers also frequently present with associated conditions, such as asthma (which can cause shortness of breath) and eczema. If you struggle with allergies or asthmatic symptoms during autumn, make sure to stock up on antihistamines, nasal decongestants and pain medication to see you through lockdown. You can also 'allergy proof' your home by frequently vacuuming carpets, eliminating excess pet dander and by avoiding trigger foods, such as dairy.

Seasonal Colds And Flu

Telling the difference between a cold and a nasty flu is quite simple, as most of us battle with either each winter. However, discerning the difference between a cold, the flu or COVID-19 may be slightly trickier. The coronavirus shares a few common symptoms with colds and flu, which leads many to panic that they are infected with the virus when cold and flu symptoms present. To help you differentiate between a cold, the flu and COVID-19, run through this checklist of symptoms, assessing the severity of those you have presented with:

Cold symptoms:

Flu symptoms:

Rather than rush out to your doctor or to the emergency room, stick by COVID-19 protocols if you think you may have a cold or the flu. Self-isolate at home and call ahead to your GP to discuss your symptoms. You may also consider getting the flu vaccine before winter is in full swing or incorporating some immune-boosting habits into your daily routine.

flu or COVID-19

COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19 may present differently from person to person, varying in severity. The virus may take between two to 14 days to develop symptoms, which is why self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing are imperative at this moment.

COVID-19 is also far more contagious than the common cold and seasonal flu. One carrier may infect up to three other people. The virus is spread by coming into close contact with an infected person, inhaling droplets of the virus when speaking or after the infected person has coughed or sneezed. The virus can also live on surfaces and fabric for an undetermined amount of time. If you touch an object or surface which is covered in COVID-19 virus droplets and then touch your nose, eyes or mouth before washing your hands, you may become infected.

As we know, certain groups of people are more susceptible to developing complications from COVID-19, such as pneumonia and renal failure. These groups include the elderly, diabetics, those with heart and lung diseases and HIV/AIDS patients.

Here are the most common symptoms experienced by those who have contracted COVID-19:

flu or COVID-19

Treatment

Most patients are able to recover from the virus at home, using over-the-counter medications. Consult your doctor to find the best medication to treat your symptoms. Please ensure to remain in self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days, even if you begin to feel better. You can also prevent spreading the virus by coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the crook of your elbow, continuing to wash your hands frequently and by wearing a surgical face mask. 

Click here for information on where and how you can get tested for the coronavirus in Johannesburg.

Where To Access Medical Information

Please contact the NICD hotline number: 080 002 9999 or visit their website for further information about COVID-19. You can also contact the South African Government COVID-19 WhatsApp service. Send the word “HI” to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp.

For up to date information, statistics and insightful blogs, check out our section on COVID-19.

*We are not medical professionals. Always consult a doctor if you feel ill or require further information on COVID-19. 

Stay well, safe and healthy!

When it comes to the Coronavirus and illnesses in general, prevention is better than cure. Now is the time to replace any bad habits with good ones in order to boost your immune system and prevent yourself from getting sick. We have a list of some easy things you can do to boost your immune system:

Fruit And Vegetables

Most of us don't eat nearly enough fruit and vegetables. By simply including more of these wholesome foods into your daily diet, you can boost the amount of natural vitamins and minerals your body absorbs. Getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals is essential to help your immune system fight off colds, flu and the Coronavirus.

Exercise

Not all of us enjoy exercising, but this is one of the best ways to ensure your body can fight off any viruses. You can incorporate exercise into your daily routine by simply taking a walk around your property or doing at-home yoga, Pilates or other forms of exercise.

Hydrate

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to boost your immune system and this is the best time to try and up your water intake. If you don't like the taste of water, you can flavour it with slices of lemon, oranges, cucumber, strawberries or even some crushed mint. You can also drink lightly sweetened tea.

Sleep

Joburg is a city that never sleeps. But now is the time to change that. If you want to boost your immune system, it is important to get your full eight hours of sleep a day. An hour before you go to bed, switch off all your electronic devices and try to relax. You can do this by taking a nice bubble bath or reading a good book.

Don't Panic

Many of us are panicking about the Coronavirus and how it will affect us. In order to boost your immune system, you need to reduce your stress levels as much as possible. A great way to do this is to not panic about things out of your control. Stay informed on the latest news of the virus, but don't overwhelm yourself with content.

wash

Hygiene

Hygiene is more important now than ever before. In order to prevent contracting this disease, new hygiene practices must be implemented, such as avoiding physical contact. This is also a great time to stock up on a few items to help avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Items to stock up on:

Do you have any suggestions on how to boost your immune system? Let us know about them in the comments section below!

*We are not medical professionals, this article is intended as a guide only. Always consult a medical practitioner.