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How many times a day have you heard the words “Corona Virus” this week? Its everywhere, and it sounds scary.

But as with everything, a lot of what we read online is fake news, so we asked our friend Dr Sharon O’Donnell to explain it very simply for us. Here’s what she told us…

What is it?

Covid 19 is the name for a New strain of a Corona virus which has previously not been detected in humans.  Regular Corona viruses have existed for a long time and cause the common cold.

Why are we all worried about it?

It is more contagious than other strains have been and seems to be easy to pick up through droplet and airborne infection – that means sneezing, coughing and surfaces that the viruses land on.

What are the symptoms?

Cold and flu like symptoms with runny nose, sneezing, cough and fever and in serious cases difficulty breathing.  It is usually a mild illness but can be severe and cause death in about 2% of people affected.

What is the cure?

It is usually self limiting- in other words our own immune system can fight it off without any medication, with rest and fluids like other viruses. In the case of elderly or very young people especially those with other medical conditions, such as lung diseases and diabetes or heart disease, it may be harder to fight off and so these tend to be the people who get very sick with it.

How do I prevent it?

Wash your hands, use antibacterial hand gel, sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow, avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms. Masks may be useful in stopping spread in someone affected but may not prevent infection in the first place- we are not sure.

If you’re worried you can ring HSE helpline 1850 24 1850