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.
The main symptoms to look out for are:
- a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- shortness of breath
- breathing difficulties
- fever (high temperature) or chills
Read more about the symptoms and causes of coronavirus
Protect yourself and others from coronavirus
Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets. To infect you, it has to get from an infected person’s nose or mouth into your eyes, nose or mouth.
It’s important to wash your hands properly and often.
Follow this advice to protect yourself and others from coronavirus
Travel and coronavirus
You will need to self-quarantine if you’re returning to Ireland from certain countries.
You should also follow the advice from the Department of Foreign affairs if you are thinking about travelling abroad.
Find out more about travel and coronavirus
At-risk groups and coronavirus
There are some groups of people who may be more at risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus. But we do not think these groups have a higher risk of catching coronavirus. This is similar to other infections such as flu.
Read more about at-risk groups and coronavirus
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.
Read more about pregnancy and coronavirus
Self-isolation and self-quarantine
To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) you may need to either self-quarantine or self-isolate.
Self-quarantine means avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. You will need to do this if you are a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus and you are still well.
Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. You will need to do this if you have symptoms of coronavirus.
Read more about self-quarantine and self-isolation
There is no need to order more medicines than you need. This will affect the supply of medicines to others. There is no disruption to the supply of medicines.
If you have respiratory symptoms, do not attend your pharmacy in person. Phone your pharmacist if you need to order a prescription. Ask a family member to collect any medicines you need.
To protect yourself and others from coronavirus (COVID-19) it’s important to think about how the virus is spread.
Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets. To infect you, it has to get from an infected person’s nose or mouth into your eyes, nose or mouth. This can be direct or indirect (on hands, objects, surfaces). Keep this in mind. It will help you remember all the things you need to do to protect yourself and others from the virus.
Social distancing is important to help slow the spread of coronavirus. It does this by minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals.
Social distancing is keeping a space of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and other people. Do not shake hands or make close contact if possible.
Help slow the spread of coronavirus
To help slow the spread of coronavirus:
- anyone who has symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days
- everyone should limit unnecessary social contact as much as possible
- at-risk groups should avoid close contact with people outside the home
How to protect yourself and others from coronavirus
Follow this advice as strictly as possible and encourage others to follow this advice too.
Wash your hands properly and often.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Avoid close contact with people – keep a distance of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and others.
Avoid crowded places, especially indoors.
Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Stay at home if you are sick to help stop the spread of whatever infection you may have.
Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Do not share objects that touch your mouth – for example, bottles, cups.
Do not shake hands.
Wash your hands properly and often
You should wash your hands:
- after coughing or sneezing
- before and after eating
- before and after preparing food
- if you were in contact with someone who has a fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)
- before and after being on public transport or in a crowd (especially an indoor crowd)
- when you arrive and leave buildings including your home or anyone else’s home
- if you have handled animals or animal waste
- before having a cigarette or vaping
- if your hands are dirty
- after toilet use
Keep your hands in good condition, moisturise them often. Any basic product that is not perfumed or coloured is OK.
Do not wear gloves instead of washing your hands. The virus gets on them in the same way it gets on your hands. Also, your hands can get contaminated when you take them off.
Read a step-by-step guide on how to properly wash your hands and avoid infection.
Using masks is unlikely to be of any benefit if you are not sick.
Sick people will be advised by their doctor when to use a mask. Healthcare workers need masks and other personal protective equipment to protect them from infection during their work.