COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.
Symptoms of coronavirus
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to appear. They can be similar to the symptoms of cold and flu.
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
- a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above)
- a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- shortness of breath (breathing difficulties)
For people who get infected with coronavirus:
- 80% will have mild illness and make a full recovery within a few weeks
- 14% will have a more severe illness
- 6% will have a critical illness
Protect yourself and others from coronavirus
Everyone needs to stay at home to help slow the spread of coronavirus. You should only leave for essential reasons. This is the best way to protect your friends, families and communities.
It’s important to practice social distancing and wash your hands properly and often.
Restricted movements and self-isolation
To help stop the spread of coronavirus everyone has been asked to stay at home. But some people may need to do more than this.
You may need to either:
You do these things to stop other people from getting coronavirus.
There are some groups of people who may be at risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus. This is similar to other infections such as flu.
People in these at-risk groups will be prioritised for tests if they have symptoms of coronavirus.
Cocooning means protecting people over 70 years of age, people who are extremely medically vulnerable and people living in residential care homes or long-term care. If you are in one of these groups, you must take extra care to reduce interaction with other people. Do not go outside your home and garden.
If you are in one of the priority groups and your GP thinks that you need to be tested, they will arrange a test for you.
Your appointment will be confirmed by text message. The text will include details on where you should go and when.
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. But many of the symptoms of coronavirus can be treated at home. Take any medication you are already taking as usual, unless you are told not to by a healthcare professional.
Most people who catch coronavirus will experience mild symptoms. They should make a full recovery without needing to go to hospital.
If your symptoms get worse and you feel very unwell you may need to go to hospital.
Pregnancy and coronavirus
When you are pregnant, your body naturally weakens your immune system. This is to help your pregnancy continue successfully. It means that when you are pregnant you may pick up infections more easily.
All pregnant women should get the flu vaccine. This will protect you and your baby from the flu, not from coronavirus.
Children and coronavirus
Around the world, very few cases of coronavirus have been reported in children. Children can sometimes get the virus. But they seem to get a milder infection than adults or older people do.
Children may also play a big role in spreading the virus. That’s why they should stay away from at-risk groups, such as people over the age of 60. This is because older people, or people in at risk groups, might have a harder time fighting the virus.
Encourage your child to wash their hands regularly and properly.
Travel and coronavirus
Arriving to Ireland from another country
If you do not have symptoms of coronavirus
You will need to restrict your movements for 14 days if you return to Ireland from any other country.
You do not need to restrict your movements if you:
- return to the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland
- are an essential supply chain worker, for example, a pilot, haulier, maritime staff member
If you have symptoms of coronavirus
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, you will need to self-isolate and phone your GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone. If they think you need to be tested for coronavirus, they will arrange a test.
Travelling to another country from Ireland
Avoid all non-essential travel to other countries.
Travel to areas with widespread local transmission
If you travel to an area with widespread local transmission of coronavirus, the risk of catching the virus is high. The World Health Organisation (WHO) publish daily information on rates of local transmission.
Pets and coronavirus
There is no evidence that pets such as cats and dogs can catch or spread coronavirus.
Contact and resources for Deaf people
Deaf Irish Sign Language users can get information about coronavirus using Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS).
IRIS is available from 9am to 7pm, Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday.
This service is for Deaf Irish Sign Language users only.
Department of Health – latest updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre – information for health professionals