health articles


By now, we’re all very familiar with COVID-19. It’s a flu-like respiratory illness. Unlike many other illnesses, COVID-19 is very infectious. This means we have to be very careful not to spread COVID.


How do we control the spread of COVID-19?

The best ways to do this are to:

1. Avoid meeting others indoors as much as possible

2. Whenever meeting others, keep two-metres of distance between you

3. Wear a mask indoors and on public transport

4. Avoid meeting others for prolonged periods of time

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

There are three main symptoms of COVID-19. These are:

  • A new continuous cough (coughing a lot for an hour or more, or having three or more coughing episodes within a day).
  • A high temperature.
  • A loss or change to your sense of taste or smell (if you either can’t smell/taste things, or you notice that they smell/taste differently to normal).

If you have any of these symptoms, the first thing you need to do is book a COVID test. Once you’ve done this you and your household need to stay at home until the test comes back negative.

What should I do if I have COVID-19?

After booking a test, you can book a consultation with a Virtually clinician if you think you have COVID. Most people who catch COVID get better within a few weeks. But for a small percentage of people who catch it, their symptoms get worse.


How Virtually GPs can help if you have COVID-19

As we practise remote-consulting, you’ll be able to speak with a Virtually clinician even when you’re self-isolating. They’ll be able to give you tips for managing your symptoms. If your symptoms get worse, we’ll be able to send you a monitor for tracking your oxygen levels, to make sure that we can act if you become very short of breath.

Managing mild symptoms

This isn’t exhaustive, but here are some tips for managing mild COVID symptoms at home:

If you’re feeling breathless:

  • Try sitting upright in a chair
  • Try breathing slowly – in through your nose, out through your mouth
  • Relax your shoulders

If you’ve got a cough:

  • Try to sit upright or stand

If you’ve got a temperature:

  • Try to get lots of rest
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take common painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to manage the discomfort

What if my symptoms get worse?

Pleased book an immediate call-back from the Virtually patient support team through the HelpDesk on your Virtually account or call 111.

Self-Isolation and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Why am I being told to ‘self-isolate’?

If you, or someone you’ve been in contact with, tests positive for COVID, the first thing you need to do is self-isolate. It is really important to do this, even if you personally don’t have any symptoms. We now know that many symptoms can take several days after infection to show up. And we also know that people can still spread COVID to others, even if they don’t have any symptoms at all.

Although most people who catch COVID are fine, by now we know that COVID-19 is extremely contagious. This means that, although most people experience mild symptoms, if nothing is done to stop the spread of COVID-19 then it will spread far quicker than most other illnesses. If very large numbers of people catch it, and even a small percentage of those experience serious ill-effects as a result, then that will still be a very large number of people getting ill.

As a result, if any of us has a mild form of COVID-19, it is still really important that we’re very careful not to spread it to anyone.

The Government is providing financial support for people who are unable to go to work as a result of self-isolating. You can see more details about this support on their website.

How can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Virtually is an online GP surgery, meaning that if you are registered with us, you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are registered with us, then when it’s time for your priority group to receive the vaccine, you will receive a text inviting you to book your vaccine at one of London’s NHS mass vaccination centres. There are currently 12 of these across London, but more are being planned.

Does this article answer all of your questions on this topic? If not, please let us know through the HelpDesk on your Virtually account as we’re always keen to update these in order to make them as informative and helpful as possible.

Types of consultations we offer

We offer written, telephone and video consultations with a range of male and female clinicians from GPs, nurse practitioners, and primary care specialists such as physiotherapy.