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Concerned about Coronavirus?

As Scotland responds to Coronavirus COVID-19, Age Scotland has compiled advice for older people and their families on how to avoid exposure to the virus, what to do if you are feeling unwell and the assistance available to you.

Get the most up to date advice from NHS Inform

You can find the latest information from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government about coronavirus on the NHS Inform website. If you do not have symptoms and are looking for general information, you call NHS Inform on 0800 028 2816.

Find out more about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Age Scotland's free helpline 0800 12 44 222

Our team of advisers are available to offer reassurance, information, advice and friendship to older people, their families and carers. Call us today on 0800 12 44 222

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a virus that causes an illness called COVID-19. It affects your lungs and airways. For most people, it causes mild symptoms while for others it can be more serious and require hospital treatment.

It was first discovered in December 2019 and the first case in Scotland was discovered in March 2020.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart or lung disease are more likely to become severely ill with the virus and should take extra care.

The symptoms of Coronavirus

Common symptoms include:

  • a cough
  • high temperature
  • a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste (known as anosmia)

However, these symptoms are similar to lots of other illnesses, like common colds and flu. If someone has these symptoms it doesn’t necessarily mean they have coronavirus.

Some people will have more serious symptoms, including pneumonia or difficulty breathing, which might require admission to hospital.

What should you do if you develop coronavirus symptoms?

If you've developed symptoms, stay at home for 10 days from the start of your symptoms and book a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. PCR tests detect the genetic material of a virus and are the most reliable coronavirus tests. You can book a PCR test online or by calling 119. 

If you think you have might have coronavirus don’t go to your doctor’s surgery, hospital or pharmacy. You should stay at home until you get the result of the test, and then follow the advice you will be given based on the result. 

How to get a test when you don't have symptoms

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not show symptoms, so can spread the virus to others without knowing. Regular testing helps to find positive cases in people who have no symptoms, but who are still infectious. 

Anyone in Scotland can now order Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests (which detect proteins in coronavirus) to be posted to their home. The tests as simple and quick to use and it is recommended that people self-test twice a week. You can order LFD tests on the UK Government website or by calling 119. Alternatively you can collect LFD tests from your nearest coronavirus testing site or from a participating pharmacy - you can find out where these are here https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/findatestcenter.html 

If you have symptoms of coronavirus or receive a positive Lateral Flow Device result, you must order a PCR test online or by calling 119.  

How to avoid catching infections like coronavirus

One of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of infection for yourself and the people around you is to wash your hands, frequently and thoroughly for 20 seconds, with soap and hot water. 

You should also make sure you catch coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve – not your hands – and put used tissues in the bin. Then wash your hands.

Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and if you are able to do so you should wear a face covering when you are in an enclosed public space such as a shop, or on public transport.

Get the latest news from the Scottish Government

The guidance about Coronavirus COVID-19 could change rapidly. Make sure that you are well informed by following the advice of the Scottish Government and NHS24.

The Age Scotland Helpline

Call our helpline on 0800 12 44 222 for free to speak to an adviser. Open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm.

Help us support more older people

Demand for our vital services is increasing rapidly. Please help us to be there for older people in Scotland who desperately need us during this crisis.

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