COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called Coronavirus. There are many different corona viruses in animals but only a small number of these can cause disease in humans. Everybody is at risk of Coronavirus infection no matter their age, race or gender. Most people who are infected will feel like they have the flu and get better after a week or so, but for some people, Coronavirus can be life-threatening. People at the most risk of getting very sick with Coronavirus are:
There is a shortage of medical masks in the country. A medical mask should ONLY be used by the following groups of people:
If you are wearing a home-made mask, please ensure the following:
How to make a bleach solution for cleaning surfaces and bathrooms:
Mix 1 litre of water with 4 teaspoons of bleach such as JIK.
Remember to keep this away from children.
DO NOT use this on your hands.
Some of the symptoms are the same for the seasonal flu and they can vary between people. Most people who test positive for Coronavirus have some or all these symptoms:
If you are worried that you have any Coronavirus symptoms stay at home and contact the free hotline (National Coronavirus Hotline 0800 029 999). They are getting a lot of calls so keep trying if you can’t get through. You will be told whether or not you should test for the virus and where to go. Only go to your nearest health facility if you are struggling to breathe, have bad chest pains or cannot cope with your symptoms. If you are living with someone in a high-risk category and they show symptoms and you are concerned about them go straight to your nearest hospital or clinic.
Call centre numbers:
National Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999.
Mpumalanga MEC Hotline: 0800111151
Right to Care Helpline: 0106120114
Coronavirus WhatsApp Helpline: +27 600 123 456. Add the number to your phone and type the word ‘Hi’ and you will get a response.
The majority of people who have Coronavirus will have mild to bad flu and will get better as their immune system develops the ability to fight the virus. The Department of Health is setting up isolation facilities around the country. If you live in a crowded environment, you can call the National Coronavirus Hotline 0800 029 999 to arrange access to a facility near you. If you are staying at home, the following advice can help:
Take paracetamol pain killers to ease the symptoms. The best Paracetamol brand available is Panado. Avoid Grandpa and Nurofen.
If you are living with any chronic disease you are at risk of becoming very sick if you are infected with Coronavirus if the disease is not under control. If you are taking medication it is vital to continue treatment.
People with diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, asthma, cancer, or high blood pressure should protect themselves as much as possible from catching Coronavirus, and call the hotline if they are worried.
TB attacks the lungs and people living with TB who are not on treatment are at great risk of becoming very ill if they are infected with Coronavirus. If you have TB, or you think you may have TB or have a close contact who is living with TB call the Coronavirus Helpline or go to your nearest hospital or clinic to have a test. Start medication immediately if you are positive. Taking TB medication gives you the best chance of beating Coronavirus if you are infected.
If you know you are living with HIV, take your ARVs every day. This will strengthen your immune system and empower you to fight Coronavirus if you are infected.?
If you are virally suppressed, which means you have a very small amount of HIV in your blood, you may be able to pick up your ARVs from Collect + Go in your community. Ask if you qualify for Collect + Go next time you go to the clinic. Please call the AIDS Helpline 0800 012 322 if you need more information.
If you have stopped your ARVS for any reason, please go to the clinic immediately and start again. This could make the difference between life and death for you, because your immune system will be weak if you are infected with Coronavirus and you may not be able to fight it.
If you don’t know your status and think you may be at risk of HIV, please test immediately and start ARVS if you are positive. You are at risk of HIV is you have more than one sexual partner and don’t always use a condom.
Remember: if anyone in your household has a chronic disease please support them to take their medication and make sure that they do not run out.