For most of us the last year has felt like a long slog and with lockdown 3.0 the start to 2021 hasn’t been the easiest.

As we approach almost a year of social distancing, lockdowns and everything else that goes with the pandemic it is easy to be dismissive of the basic ways that we can protect each other, such as getting a Covid-19 test.

Know when to book a Covid-19 test

Over recent months East Sussex GPs have seen many residents with symptoms that could be related to Covid-19.

If you’re feeling unwell and you’re questioning whether it could be Covid-19 – you should probably get a test.

Up to 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 don’t develop symptoms, we also know for some people the symptoms will pass quickly, which may fool you into thinking you’re safe and unlikely to be infectious, but that just isn’t the case. Although symptoms can pass quickly or be very mild for some people, you will still be infectious. This mean that not self-isolating and booking a test puts others at risk and prolongs the life of the virus in our communities. It could also be so much worse for someone you come into contact with, especially if they are more vulnerable to the virus.

We all want to get back to normal as soon as we can – if in doubt book a test.

Test slots are so easy to access now with seven Covid-19 test sites available to East Sussex residents and a mobile testing unit travelling across the county on a weekly basis. You will usually receive your test results by email, text or call within three days.

The main symptoms of Covid-19

If you need a reminder, the main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).

You may only feel hot for a short period of time, it may not be long lasting but if you feel hot to touch, book a test. East Sussex GPs also tell us the fever associated with Covid-19 often comes with a headache and feelings of fatigue.

  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

This could just feel like the cough that would come with a normal cold. If you develop a new cough, book a test.

  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

Again, this may only last for a short period of time before your taste returns. Or it may last a long time. If you notice a difference to your taste or smell, book a test.

Support if you’re self-isolating

Having to self-isolate at short notice can be difficult if you need supplies. Where possible you should look to friends and family and ask them to drop off supplies at your door, but they mustn’t come in. If asking friends and family isn’t an option there is a lot of community support available, including from Community Hubs.

Find out more about Coronavirus – community support.

If you can’t work from home and self-isolating will leave you in financial difficulty, you may be eligible for a self-isolation support grant.

Find out more about Test and Trace Support Payments and how to apply.

If we all work together, follow the guidance and get tested if we need to we can protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and in turn protect the NHS this winter.

Find out where to get medical help during COVID-19.

When will I get my jab?

All the information about the local NHS roll out of the vaccine in Sussex can be found on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website.

The website includes a new section called ‘When will I get my jab?’ which advises residents on when and where they can expect their jab. The NHS will contact residents when it’s their turn, and people should wait to be contacted.

Once you have had the vaccine, there is still a chance you might get or spread coronavirus. It is vital that you keep following the current lockdown restrictions and rules about social distancing and face coverings for the time being, even if you have had the vaccine.