Coping with coronavirus
The spread of coronavirus has caused a global pandemic that confined many of us to our homes, and turned all of our lives upside down. Although the lockdown restrictions are lifting in many places, it can still feel really overwhelming, and we get that the health crisis impacts you all differently.
We’ve tried to cover all bases, with practical tips on managing your money, work and furlough, study, and managing your mental health during the pandemic. We’ve also got some helpful information about the COVID-19 vaccine programme and how it works.
You’ll also find plenty of fun ways to escape, unwind and spread good vibes when things get too much.
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, as it’s sometimes also called, is a virus that can affect your lungs and airways. Sometimes, you might hear SARS mentioned in reference to coronavirus. SARS stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome and is used to describe any virus that affects our lungs and how we breathe.
Because it’s a virus, coronavirus can only survive inside the living cells of an organism like an animal, a plant or us. The virus can also mutate, which means there are different strains (or variants) that behave slightly differently. They can sometimes be more infectious.
We’re learning things about coronavirus all the time, but we know it spreads through the droplets that people exhale, sneeze and cough – coughs and sneezes mean more droplets and a higher chance of infection, which is why masks and some forms of social distancing are still advised as protective measures. The restrictions are changing and you can find all the most up to date government advice here.
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How can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccination programme is underway in the UK, but how can you get your vaccine? We spoke to Professor Helen Fletcher, who is Professor of Immunology at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Watch our video to hear her expert information and advice on how to get vaccinated.
How do you know what to believe about the COVID-19 vaccine? Professor Helen Fletcher answers your questions.
What's the "track and trace" app and how do I use it? Read our handy guide to find out.
A guide to looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
Telling the world that you're trans can be difficult. Read Lots Holloway's story about coming out during lockdown.
What are the problems with a "lockdown glow-up?" Our ambassador Muz tells us his views from a South Asian perspective.
We find out how students feel about going back to uni or college for a new term.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Public Health England lists the three main symptoms of coronavirus as:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
If you have any of these symptoms, you should get a PCR test (this means a test that is sent to a lab, not a rapid lateral flow test) to check if you have coronavirus and stay at home until you get your result.
How do I self-isolate?
If you think you have coronavirus and are showing the symptoms, make sure you call 111. It’s also really important to self-isolate to protect others from getting the virus and to take care of yourself.
If you’re self-isolating, you are not allowed to leave your home for any reason. If you can, get food and medicine delivered to you and order whatever you can online.
You should even do exercise at home – you can use your garden; and definitely don’t invite anybody round.
What is a rapid lateral flow test?
A rapid lateral flow test is a test you can get if you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19. You can take it at home, or at a rapid flow test site.
The tests are free and they’re quick and easy to do – you just have to rub a long cotton bud over your tonsils and then inside your nose. You then get the results within 30 minutes.
You should take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week to keep you and those around you safe. If you test positive, you and anyone you live with will need to self-isolate.
Will the COVID-19 vaccination give me a blood clot?
The risk of this happening is very low. There’s been a huge amount in the news on the association of blood clots with COVID-19 vaccines and in particular, with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. There have been some very rare types of blood clot associated with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, but the number of cases is incredibly small – around two in a million.
People in their 20s and 30s have been identified as being more likely to be at risk and are therefore being offered one of the other vaccines instead. It is definitely worth getting the vaccine, as the risk of getting COVID-19 is much higher than the risk of getting blood clots from the vaccination.
We worked in partnership with Facebook, TOMs Shoes and Schuh on this project and would like to thank them for their collaboration and support.