Both the Flu and Coronavirus are types of respiratory viruses. They both can affect people’s lungs and airways.
The difference is that Coronavirus spreads quickly from person to person, and no-one has immunity to it. Unlike the flu where vaccinations have been established to help prevent the spread of it.
The symptoms to watch out for are also different. People who are contracting Coronavirus have reported having:
- a high temperature -This means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
- a new, continuous cough – This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
Coronavirus has affected people all over the world. It has now been classed as a pandemic due to the large amounts of people catching it. In total to date 170,397 people worldwide have died from catching Coronavirus.
In the UK, on the date this was written, already 124,743 people have been confirmed as having coronavirus and 16,509 people have died from the virus.
Q: Last night I began to feel unwell. I have a cough and I think I’m getting a temperature. Could I have Coronavirus?
A: If you are worried you might have the virus, but you are not sure, you can talk to your parent(s) or carer(s) to see what they think and use the NHS 111 online service. This service will help you check to see if you have symptoms of Coronavirus 111.nhs.uk/covid-19
Q: I’m just not feeling well in general, will I still be able to see a doctor?
A: Doctors are also having to work differently over this period in order to keep patients and themselves safe. You can call your doctor practice and discuss the reason why your calling.
Doctors are working remotely now. Therefore, anyone who requires a doctor will be offered a telephone or video consultation. On some occasions a doctor may ask for you to see them. It has also been advised for people to also contact the NHS 111 by phone or email for medical support.
Q: When will things go back to normal?
A: This is a question a lot of people would like to know. Unfortunately, we all must wait for the Government to advise us on when ‘normal’ will happen. At this moment we all need to embrace the new normal as this will help keep us as safe as possible.
Q: I have a boyfriend/girlfriend, they want to see me and say that we should meet up. I know we shouldn’t, but I’m feeling torn about it because I really do miss them.
A: A lot of people are missing seeing their loved ones at this time. Not being able to be close with them can be hard. To keep your partner safe, your families safe and yourself safe, it’s important you do not meet up face to face.
This is not forever, it is only temporary, therefore connecting with loved ones in other ways is now the key.
Social media platforms are being used a lot now to help keep people in contact with their loved ones. Sites such as WhatsApp, House Party, Facebook, Twitter are all free to use for phone and video calls.
Q: My friend told me that young people can’t get Coronavirus, so why do I need to stay in my house?
A: This information is not factual. Young people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have needed to be treated in hospital. There have also been young people who have sadly died due to catching COVID-19.
Did you know that you can have the virus and not feel ill? This means that if you are out and about socialising you could be passing it to others who may become very unwell - like one of your friends who has a health condition, or a member of your own family who is elderly like one of your grandparents.
Q: I heard that I can go out to exercise if needed. Does that mean I can meet up with my friends and go for a bike ride or walk together?
A: The answer is No, and this is why:
The government has said that people can leave their homes to take part in exercise such as walking, running and cycling, but it is important you remember that although you are allowed out you still have to follow social distancing rules. That means avoiding large and small gatherings with friends and family.
It is advised that you exercise alone or with members of your household. Enjoy exercising, but please do it safely.
Q: I know people that are not staying at home, and still meeting up. What will happen if they are caught breaking the rules?
A: Anyone who is not abiding by the rules is potentially putting others at risk. Social distance measures have been put in place to help stop the spread of this deadly virus and help save lives.
If you are caught by a Police Officer s/he may ask you why you are out, ask you to return home or take you home themselves.
If Police Officers are worried that people are not sticking to the guidance even after being asked, they do have the power to fine or arrest people for not complying with the social distancing rules.
Q: Some people are putting pressure on me to go out and although I don’t want to, I’m worried something bad might happen if I don’t.
A: If you are being pressured to go somewhere and do something you don’t want to do and/or you have been threatened, you should tell someone you trust and they or you should contact the police. We know this is difficult to do and so you can make a report anonymously through www.fearless.org. If someone else does it on your behalf, they can do it through www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
If anyone comes to your address, do not answer the door and call the police immediately, keeping yourself safe indoors. Anyone who is a real friend or who really cares about you will not be pressuring you in this way and will not put you at risk by asking you to come out.
Q: I feel really anxious and I’m worried about my family, friends and myself catching Coronavirus.
I’ve not left my house since, as I’m too scared to. My parents have tried to encourage me to go out to walk for exercise, but I feel too overwhelmed to be able to do so.
What can I do to help lower my anxieties?
A: Everyone at different points in their lives will have feelings of anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of worry and fear. Sometimes people’s anxiety can temporarily hinder them, and for others it can affect their daily living. Learning ways to manage your anxieties is an important part of looking after your well-being.
Facing your fears can feel very uncomfortable and scary at first. Learning about what causes anxiety for you and looking at what steps you can take to help lower that anxiety can be helpful.
For example, looking outside and seeing that there are people enjoying going for walks, and cycling over the COVID period, is a key to telling yourself that it is ok to go outside. You could set yourself a goal to achieve such as just stand at your front door and breathe in the outside air. Next time you might choose to stand just outside your home. Through doing this, it will help you to take back control over the feeling of anxiety. You have full control of it. Breaking the anxiety cycle is possible. Going against the way anxiety makes you feel takes persistence, courage, strength and will power.
Q: I’ve felt safer and less anxious during lockdown, for example because school and peer pressure have reduced or I’ve got away from a crowd who weren’t good for me.
I’m worried about these pressures starting up again when things get back to normal.
A: We are all different and for some people being at home in lock-down has helped to ease stresses and pressures rather then increase them. It may feel like a good time to rest, recuperate or spend quiet time on your own. If so, enjoy the time to de-stress and reflect! There will come a time when ‘normal’ life will start again. You can start planning now for how you might try to deal with unwanted stress and pressure, or even if it’s possible to avoid negative influences entirely. Now is a good time to talk through with a trusted adult or friend about your concerns, or to seek support from a helpline or organisation.
General support for mental health:
If you feel you need additional support, please contact your doctor. Websites such as Childline and Young Minds also offer help advice, guidance and support around anxiety. Below are some clips that look at anxiety.
What Having Anxiety Feels Like (youtube)
Anxiety - Short Film (2018) (youtube)
Q: I’m concerned about what will happen with my grades as I’ve been told I will not be taking my GCSE’s/A Levels or other exams.
I’m also worried that the Government might say last minute that I will have to do my exams now, even though they have previously said the exams have been cancelled, and I’m not prepared.
A: This situation is the first of its kind to happen where a year group has been unable to take their exams. Your school/college, and exam boards, are now working together to establish what your overall grade will be. They will consider a range of things like:
- your classwork and homework,
- your results in assignments
- any mock exams
- any non-exam assessment or coursework you might have done,
- your general progress during your course.
Your school or college will be asked to send exam boards two pieces of information for each of your subjects, based on what they know about your work and achievements and an overall grade will then be given. It looks very unlikely that exams will go ahead this summer. But, if the decision were to change, there would be a procedure which your school or college would inform you of.
Q: I’m in my last year of school/college. I’m still not sure what I want to do once I’ve finished school/college. What services can help me?
Anyone who needs career advice can still contact Connexions. They are unable to offer face to face appointments at this time, but you can call them on 020 8583 5151. A Connexions adviser will be able to offer careers information, advice and guidance to help you to make the right career steps.
Q: I’m so bored at home. What other things can I do?
A: There are a lot of things you can do over this time to keep yourself busy whilst at home. People have different interests, so finding things that interest you is key. Sites such as Pinterest and Youtube are great places to go to gather inspiration. Below are some sites you can go to that have different activities you can check out, practice, do and conquer.
- Break Records at Home (Guiness World records)
- 7 Fun & Cheap Party Games with Cups (Minute to Win It Games) (Youtube)
- Quarantined Quarters Drawing Challenge
Q: I can’t stay at home anymore. My parent/s are driving me insane! What can I do?
A: It’s very difficult when you are having to stay at home a lot and you are not getting on with those around you. Giving each other space is key to helping when tensions are high. It’s important to remember that parents as well as young people have feelings.
When upset, parents and young people both may say things they do not mean, or do mean, but what has been said can be hard to accept.
Recognising when tempers are beginning to flare is key, as you can then help to de-escalate it. For example, you might choose to let your mum/dad know they are shouting at you and that you would prefer if they didn’t do that but do want to talk things through with them.
You could also let your parents know that you do not want to argue, so you are going to go to your room for 5 minutes to calm down and after that maybe we can talk.
Q: It’s just me and my mum at home. I’m my mum’s carer. I’m frightened that she might become ill?
A: It’s understandable the worry you have. Talking this over with your mum might be a helpful thing to do, also talking to friends and family about how you feel. They may all be able to offer you support in different ways.
You could also make a ‘what to do’ list if your mum does become unwell. Sharing your worries with those you trust is a great way of exploring the worry, and solutions can be identified.
Many areas offer a Young Carers club which you could approach for support and being able to talk to other young people in your situation who understand.
Q: My mum and dad split up ages ago. I live with my mum but would see my dad at the weekends. Since the lockdown I’ve not been able to see my dad as my mum feels it’s not safe for me to go. Can I go?
A: Over this period that we are in lockdown safety is key. Parents may find themselves in the difficult situation of having to make decisions that they feel are right and are in the best interests of your well-being. Children can legally move from one parent to another over this time, so long as both parents are happy for this to happen. They do have to consider the risks also, so if someone is ill either in the home you are living in or the home you wish to travel to, it would be advised you remain where you are less at risk.
Q: Home is a very difficult place for me to be. I don’t feel safe and/or I am extremely unhappy due to the things happening to me and around me. What can I do when I’m not supposed to go out during lockdown?
A: Home is not a safe or happy place for all young people, and lockdown may have made things a lot more difficult for you. If you are unsafe at home, being abused, or seeing things happening to others in your home which are causing you/them a lot of distress you must tell someone. If you feel you, or another family member, are in immediate danger you should call the Police on 999. Otherwise, Childline or the NSPCC will be able to listen while you explain what’s happening and will talk you through the help available. To let Hounslow children’s services know that you need help, you can text 07816 070617.