Information regarding COVID-19 and how you can protect yourself
Protect yourself from coronavirus
- Wash your hands properly and regularly
- 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.
- Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs
Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Wash your hands
- after coughing or sneezing
- after toilet use
- before eating
- before and after preparing food
- if you are in contact with a sick person, especially those with respiratory symptoms
- if your hands are dirty
- if you have handled animals or animal waste
Read a step-by-step guide on how to properly wash your hands and avoid infection
Don’t use a face mask if you feel well and do not have symptoms – there’s no evidence that using masks is of any benefit if you are not sick.
Use a face mask if you:
- have or may have coronavirus
- are in close contact with someone who has or may have coronavirus
- are a healthcare worker in close contact with people who have or may have coronavirus
How to tell if a cold is COVID-19?
If I have the symptoms of COVID-19, what should I do?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 but are not feeling horribly ill, you probably have a cold or the flu. Do not panic. If you have no reason to think you’ve been in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, you should proceed as if you have a cold or the flu. You are unlikely to actually have COVID-19 and, if you do, you are unlikely to get particularly sick. That being said, it’s more important than ever that people who have the means to do so stay home when they’re not feeling well.
“Although the focus right now is on COVID-19, seasonal flu remains much more common,” says Preeti Malani, the Chief Health Officer and a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Michigan. “In general, all of us should make an effort to stay home and rest while ill. Everyday respiratory viruses spread easily. Wash your hands, cover your cough. If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to get a flu shot.”
On the off chance you do have COVID-19, you should be less concerned about the risk of serious symptoms—which, if you’re an otherwise healthy individual, are unlikely to emerge—than you should be about transmitting it to more people.
“Especially if there are known cases in your community, it would be wise not to go in public if one feels ill,” says Stanley Perlman, a professor in the departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Pediatrics at the University of Iowa. He notes that this is especially true if you have a fever.
“If you have the sniffles and must go out, CDC recommendations are to wear a mask to avoid transmitting the illness to others,” says Charles Chiu, an infectious disease expert from UC San Francisco. Face masks are not recommended for healthy individuals, and sick people wearing them to avoid spreading germs should opt for disposable paper masks instead of cloth ones.
Frequent hand washing is considered the best way to minimize the spread of a virus like COVID-19, and will also help keep you from catching (and spreading) colds and the flu.
When should I talk to a doctor about COVID-19?
You should always seek medical care if you start to have severe shortness of breath or chest pain, or a cough that keeps getting worse, as you may need medical attention even if you don’t have COVID-19.
If you’ve travelled to a high-risk country in the last couple of weeks or have come into close contact with someone now confirmed to have COVID-19, you should implement a self-imposed quarantine even if you have no symptoms. The CDC has instructions on how to minimize the risk to other members of your household if you are keeping yourself in isolation at home.
If you have symptoms of a cold and have travelled to China, South Korea, Japan, or Italy within the last couple of weeks, you should call your doctor or a hospital and ask how to proceed. You should not go to a doctor’s office or emergency room without calling ahead, as this risks exposing vulnerable people while you sit in the waiting room and interact with doctors and nurses.
“Healthcare workers can communicate with their local public health departments to help decide whether or not someone needs specific testing for COVID-19 as well as guidance about quarantine and monitoring,” Malani says.
For more information on how testing for COVID-19 works and how that might change in the coming weeks, check out this article.
HSE Video Guidelines preventing the spread of Infection Covid-19 Virus
Advice on how to wash your hands properly:
How to put on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for non-acute health settings:
Preventing the spread of infection – guidance for non-clinical health service staff:
If you’ve been in an affected area or in contact with a confirmed case
- If you’ve been in an affected area or in contact with a confirmed case
- Advice for healthcare professionals
Last updated: 1 March
There has been a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ireland. But currently, there is not spread of coronavirus in Ireland.
The advice on this page is for people who have:
- been in a place in the last 14 days where there is spread of coronavirus
- been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus
Places where there is spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- the following regions in Italy – Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna or Piedmont
The advice also applies to children who have recently been on trips to one of the places above.
Tenerife is not an affected area. Read more if you have been to the H10 Costa Adeje Hotel in Tenerife or been to Tenerife and are concerned.
What you need to do depends on if you are:
If you have been to one of the places listed above and you are not feeling well, check if you have symptoms of coronavirus. These are fever (high temperature), cough or difficulty breathing. If you do have symptoms of coronavirus, phone your GP or local emergency department (ED) without delay.
Do not go to your GP or ED. Phone them first. If you do not have a GP, phone 112 or 999.
Tell them about your symptoms. Give them the details about your situation.
Avoid contact with other people by self-isolating.
If you are feeling well, carry on with your normal routine.
Follow the advice on how to protect yourself from coronavirus and other infections such as flu.
Avoid spending time with people who are ill with a cough, high temperature, or breathing problems.
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus:
- avoid contact with people by self-isolating
- phone your GP or emergency department
- tell them your symptoms and the details of your situation
If you think you have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus
Contact HSELive on 1850 24 1850 if you think you have been:
- in contact with someone confirmed as having coronavirus
- to a healthcare facility in another country where coronavirus patients are being treated
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, avoid contact with people by self-isolating and phone your GP or emergency department. Do not go to your GP or ED. Phone them first. If you do not have a GP, phone 112 or 999.
You will be put in contact with your local Department of Public Health staff who will give you information and advice.
Interpreting service for deaf people
Deaf people can contact HSELive using Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS). IRIS is available from 9am to 7pm, Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday. To access the service using Irish Sign Language, book an appointment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-isolation means staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people.
You should self-isolate if you think you may have coronavirus while you are waiting to talk to a doctor. This will help to prevent the spread of coronavirus to others.
- Stay at home or in your hotel in a room on your own with a phone.
- Do not go to work, school, religious services or public areas.
- Do not use public transport or taxis.
- Avoid having visitors to your home.
It is important to keep away from older people, those with long-term medical conditions or pregnant women.
There have been a number of cases of coronavirus in a hotel in Tenerife. But there is no widespread transmission on the island.
If you stayed at the H10 Costa Adeje Hotel since 17 February 2020
If you have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath)
Phone your GP or local emergency department (ED) immediately. Do not go to your GP or ED. Phone them first. If you do not have a GP, phone 112 or 999.
Avoid contact with people and self-isolate. Do this by going into a room on your own with a phone and staying away from other people.
If you do not have symptoms Contact HSELive on 1850 24 1850.