We know, we know. The last thing most of us want to talk about is the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve been living it for what feels like an eternity – but despite this, many of us still have questions relating to Covid-19, self isolation, vaccines, and all the different methods of testing.
To say that we’re confused.com is a bit of an understatement.
So, we decided to delve into some of the most-asked questions and answer them for you in the most no-BS way, using official information from the government, the World Health Organisation, academic studies and NHS.uk. Here’s your guide to all things Covid…
How soon after catching the virus will a positive result show?
Symptoms typically start to appear five days after contracting Covid-19. They might be mild or moderate, so it’s best to monitor them. As soon as you suspect that you might have Covid-19, you must self isolate and take a lateral flow test. If that tests shows up positive, then you should go for a PCR test to confirm your diagnosis.
What if I’m asymptomatic?
About 1 in 3 people with the virus do not have symptoms but can still infect others. If you’re asymptomatic, you probably won’t have an inkling that you’re even carrying (read: spreading) the virus. This is why the NHS recommends taking regular lateral flow tests to keep a check on your Covid-19 status. The NHS recommends doing a rapid test twice a week (every 3 to 4 days) to check if you have the virus. If you test positive, you must self-isolate to prevent other people becoming infected.
But I’m vaccinated?
Even if you’re vaccinated, there’s still a chance you can pass Covid-19 on, so you should keep getting tested regularly.
What’s the difference between a PCR and a lateral flow test?
Polymerase Chain Reaction tests (PCRs) are sent away to a lab to diagnose disease. On the other hand, lateral flow tests can diagnose Covid-19 at home within 30 minutes.
How accurate are lateral flow tests?
There’s been a lot of discourse around the accuracy of lateral flow tests. While lateral flow tests reportedly aren’t as accurate as PCR tests, the NHS states that research shows the rapid tests are 99.9% accurate. This means the chance of getting a false-positive result is extremely low. The discrepancy is likely because lateral flows are subject to human error – make sure you read the enclosed instructions thoroughly before conducting a lateral flow – whereas PCRs are evaluated by a professional in a controlled setting.
I’ve been double jabbed, can I catch Covid?
Yes, you can still catch it, but the chances are lower. According to Imperial College London, at the beginning of August new research found that double vaccinated people were three times less likely to test positive for the virus than unvaccinated people. The results came from the Imperial-led REACT-1 study.
If I’ve been double jabbed and do catch Covid, how sick will I get?
Coronavirus side effects will be different for everybody. Some people don’t even realise they have Covid, while others become very ill. The same goes for being double jabbed. Although the Coronavirus vaccines that are on offer are highly effective – and it is important that you go for your jab as soon as you are called – they aren’t 100% effective, especially for people who have underlying health issues.
I’ve tested positive, how long will I be infectious for?
People who have tested positive for the virus can infect others from around two days before symptoms start – and you can remain infectious/contagious for up to 10 days after. This is why it’s super important to self isolate.
I’ve been pinged by the app, what shall I do?
If you get a message, phonecall or ‘ping’ from the NHS, it means you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus and you MUST self isolate. Government guidance says you should stay at home for 10 days even if you test negative. But as of August 16 2021, the government have said you won’t have to self-isolate if you’re fully vaccinated or under the age of 18, providing you don’t have symptoms or a positive test result.
How long do Covid antibodies last?
Imperial College London reported in July that an entire Italian town were tested and the results showed antibody levels remained high nine months after being infected with the virus.
What are the Coronavirus symptoms?
Symptoms of Covid-19 differ from person to person, but there is a rough timeline of symptoms.
If you test positive on day one, by day five you might begin to feel a little under the weather. Typical day five symptoms include a high fever, a dry continuous cough, general aches and pains, tiredness, breathlessness and loss of taste and smell.
On day 10 onwards you may experience respiratory symptoms like coughing, which will most likely worsen before it gets better. From day 12 onwards, if things aren’t improving at all or if they are getting worse, it’s advisable that you call 111 as hospital treatment may be required.
On day 26 some people may still experience fatigue, headaches, a cough, chest pain and loss of taste and smell. And after two months of first coming into contact with Covid-19 one in 20 people will still experience symptoms like brain fog, insomnia, low mood, chest pain and trouble breathing – this is known as long covid.
There are some key symptoms to keen an eye out for – these are:
- Fever or chills
- A dry cough and shortness of breath
- Feeling very tired
- Muscle or body aches
- A loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
What about the Delta variant?
There are typically different symptoms for different variants of Covid-19, and it’s been suggested that the Delta variant doesn’t have the same symptoms as the original virus. If you feel a little run down, or as though you might have picked up a cold – look out for the following symptoms:
- A headache
- A sore throat
- A runny nose
When will I get my smell/taste back?
Unfortunately, there’s no concrete duration for how long you’ll lose your sense of smell or taste. Some people have regained their senses back very quickly, while others have gone for months without tasting or smelling. According to Your Covid Recovery, around 1 in 10 cases of smell and taste problems persist after infection, and other viruses indicate that about 1 in 3 people will see recovery of their sense of smell over 3 years.