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How COVID-19 spreads

Like the flu, COVID-19 is usually spread from person to person. People can catch the virus through their eyes, nose or mouth.

Scientific evidence suggests that COVID-19 is spread by droplets. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus.

People may get infected by the virus if they touch surfaces or objects that have been touched by an infected person, or if droplets have settled there.

People could also get infected if droplets remain in the air for a few minutes, or longer. While it is unlikely people will get infected this way, the risk becomes higher:

  • in enclosed spaces that do not have good airflow
  • in crowded places
  • during loud conversations.

Keep up good hygiene

That’s why it’s really important to use good hygiene, at any time.

  • Regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands.
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow.
  • Clean or disinfect shared surfaces regularly.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and call your doctor or Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.

COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • a fever of at least 38°C
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as colds and flu.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

Less common symptoms

Some people may also have less common symptoms such as only:

  • fever
  • diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle pain (more common in newer Uk strain)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • confusion and irritability.

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor, Healthline or your iwi health provider.

Staying mentally healthy

Everyone’s emotional and mental wellbeing is important. It’s normal to feel anxious or stressed in times of difficulty. However, there are lots of things you can do to feel better.

Top ways to look after your mental wellbeing

There are a number of things we can all do to boost our mental wellbeing and that of our loved ones.

Stay connected

This is important for our wellbeing and helps to make us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. We can support each other through the recovery, by keeping the connections and close ties to others that we forged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acknowledge your feelings

It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, worried or scared. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be by writing thoughts and feelings down in a journal, talking to others, doing something creative or practising meditation. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you’re feeling. Reach out to others.

Stick to routines where possible

Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, eat at regular times, shower, change your clothes, see others regularly, either virtually or in person, and do your chores. Meditating and exercising can help you to relax and have a positive impact on your thoughts. Try not to increase unhealthy habits like comfort eating, drinking, smoking or vaping.

Check in on other people who might need help

Reaching out to those who may be feeling stressed or concerned can benefit both you and the person receiving support.

Limit your time online

You may find it useful to limit your time online. Check media and social media at specific times once or twice a day.

Don’t be afraid to seek support

For support with anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Student Services is always available to provide support and advice.


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