This is a list of useful information about how to help prevent the spread of the virus, cope with self-isolation when required and support the vulnerable in the community and our local businesses under threat.
What can we do ourselves?
Report Your Symptoms
In order to help slow the outbreak we are being asked to self-report daily on this Covid-19 Symptom Tracker (even if you don’t have any symptoms).
Try not to panic
Try to resist the temptation to panic buy – which just causes more stress for people, especially the elderly, who can’t carry much shopping. See below local businesses offering food take-aways and deliveries.
Be aware of how the news makes you feel. The World Health Organization advises us to “Get the facts” but “minimise news that causes you to feel anxious or distressed,” and “find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories.”
Constant news reports and commentary can become totally compelling – but if the news makes you anxious, see Lis Allen’s advice here to reduce the number of times a day you watch it and don’t watch it after 6pm or first thing in the morning. Try doing some exercises afterwards to release tension in your body. Exercise dissipates the adrenaline that builds up in stressful situations and leaves us feeling with a sense of achievement and control.
Try to Stay Calm
Support for Young People
Emotional Health Academy is a telephone support service for 11 – 18 yr olds concerned about coronavirus. Call 01635 503587 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.
This free booklet to helps children understand what is going on and deal with their emotions about the situation: Click here to download the booklet pdfs to print at home.
Support for Adults
Psychologist Linda K Berkeley explains how to reduce the fear response which suppresses the immune system.
Thatcham therapist Rob Donnelly is offering a free 45 – 60 minute online session for anyone struggling with anxiety.
How to Stay as Well as Possible
It seems a lot of us are going to get the virus so it makes sense to prepare your body to fight it by eating well, exercising, breathing properly, sleeping well and relaxing.
Listen to diet advice from a local nutritionist Sam Silvester who is offering a monthly support package for £10/month. My tai chi teacher recommends a thumb size of raw ginger blitzed with half an apple and some water first thing in the morning and half an hour before you go to bed. Here are more ideas for immune-boosting home remedies.
Dr William Bird says “Moving in short bursts is enough to boost your body’s production of Natural Killer Cells. These wonderful little cells work as your body’s natural defence system, killing viruses as they try to enter your body. In order to do their job effectively though, they need to be woken up regularly with a burst of exercise – that’s why we recommend at least two activity sessions per day.” For help with exercises in the home, subscribe to Dr Bird’s Beat the Bug newsletter or follow the Beat the Bug facebook page
Physiotherapists recommend this exercise for any patients with respiratory or pneumonia symptoms to increase the capacity of their lungs:
Inhale and hold for 5 seconds, exhale slowly. Repeat five times. On the sixth time, cough (to dislodge phlegm). Repeat the whole sequence again. Then lie down on your front and continue to breath deeply. (Lying on your back constricts your airways). See demonstration here.
4. Sleep Well
Local meditation teacher Gillian Ward invites you to join her Sleep Retreat facebook group for daily tips on relaxation and sleeping better.
If You Want to Help Others
If you want to help others, see our list of volunteer support groups across the local area. The national Age UK Telephone Befriending service and Red Cross Community Reserve volunteers also need volunteers:
So, how can we help prevent the spreading of the virus?
Follow NHS guidelines on self-isolating and social distancing. You can only leave your home for these reasons (and when you do so you must keep 2 metres away from anyone else):
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home
Hope to Cope When Self-Isolating
On a positive side, it is a chance to catch up on your domestic chores, reading and hobbies. It can be a productive time – after all, when bubonic plague closed Cambridge University in 1665, Isaac Newton was forced to self-isolate at home and sitting in the garden one day he saw an apple fall from a tree and discovered universal gravitation.
Ask for help
See our list of volunteer support groups across the local area
99% of people are genuinely wanting to help their neighbours but unfortunately there will be a handful of scammers out there so please don’t give sensitive or financial information out or let complete strangers into your home. Please be aware of coronavirus-related scams circulating at the moment.
If you are worried about domestic violence, please see list of helplines here
Here is our list of local pubs and businesses are offering extra delivery and take-away services.
The British Medical Journal recommends taking paracetomol rather than anti-inflammatories such as ibruprofen (which aggravate the symptoms).
Surgeries are making telephone consultations to limit the number of patients who need to visit the surgery in person.
Check hospital websites for latest policies on outpatients and visitors:
Great Western Hospital, Swindon
West Berkshire Community Hospital, Thatcham
Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading
John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford
The Impact on Businesses and Personal Finances
Our small independent businesses are going to suffer most and will be at risk of permanently closing if they don’t have enough cash reserves to cover their costs during a drop in trade. So please support them as much as you can.
Here is information about financial support for businesses including loans, sick pay and grants.
Legal aspects for employers, employees, self-employed and landlord, tenants and anyone with a mortgage – advice from Marlborough Law.
What are the statistics if you do get Coronavirus?
If you do get Coronavirus these are the chances of what will happen:
According to worldometers.info, a paper by the Chinese CCDC released on February 17 and published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology, based on all 72,314 cases of COVID-19 confirmed, suspected, and asymptomatic cases in China as of February 11, has found that:
- 80.9% of infections are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home.
- 13.8% are severe, developing severe diseases including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
- 4.7% are critical and can include: respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure.
- about 2% are fatal (this rises to 3.4% if you have pre-existing medical conditions and drops to 0.9% if you don’t)