The main symptoms of Coronavirus in France with severe covid infection are Fever ,Cough ,Shortness of Breath and Fatigue. You may also lose your sense of taste and smell. Those who are vaccinated often get minor symptoms that are more like the common cold.

Shortness of Breath

The most serious problem with Coronavirus in France is the lung infection which can make you feel short of breath and have reduced oxygen levels. The key issue is to know when it is getting to a level where you need specialist treatment. This is where a pulse oximeter comes in if you are feeling short of breath. It’s a little machine that shines a light through your finger and can work out if there are enough oxygen levels in your blood. In many parts of the country, GPs are providing people with these machines if you are feeling short of breath. Here is a useful video from the NHS  on how to use one.

Issues to be aware of

  • You need your fingers not to be cold or have anything that could block the light (e.g. nail varnish !)
  • It takes a few minutes to get to a normal result 
  • Between 92- 95%  means you need urgent advice 
  • Below 92% is much much worse than 95% even though it is only 3% difference. You need to call an ambulance.

If you speak to your GP you may get one for free if you are ill enough as part of a national project to improve care. Many people are buying them anyway either from their local pharmacy or getting them delivered by Amazon. They are a key tool for understanding how serious a Coronavirus infection is.


It’s worth understanding if that fever is not the illness, it’s the body responding to the illness. 

Amazingly, many people don’t have a thermometer at home so aren’t able to monitor this basic marker of illness. Personally, I think it’s essential to have one in any home. It probably doesn’t matter which you have but in my experience, most doctors tend to use Braun in their surgery. There is evidence that it strengthens the immune response but it can be a horrible symptom of Coronavirus in France to have so you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen. You can take both at the same time if need be.

Other issues to consider


  • While safe at the normal doses too much is very dangerous
  • Many medicines have paracetamol so be careful and check that you do not take over two 500mg , four times a day e.g. Lemsip or Cocodamol

You can read more about taking paracetamol for Coronavirus in France here.


  • There was concern at the start about take ibuprofen with COVID but it now seems ok. Here’s the study if you’re interested!
  • However, it’s a medicine that can cause problems with your stomach and kidneys and is not recommended for various conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions.  Read these guidelines before you take it.
  • Many people need medicine like ‘omeprazole’ to take at the same time to protect their stomach. You can buy this from a pharmacist or get it via your GP.


Coughing can be terrible and what makes it so bad is the pain it often causes. You are blowing out air up to 50mph so pretty soon it starts to hurt by damaging the tissues in your lungs and throat as well as the bones and muscles that make you cough.

You can:

  1. Try to soothe the cough – There are several international guidelines that discourage the use  of cough medicines so I  often recommend honey . Most cough medicines probably don’t cause any harm, but they don’t make the cough go quicker. There is a line of thinking that coughs are there to protect you by removing things from your lungs that shouldn’t be there. 
  2. Reduce the pain caused by coughing by taking paracetamol or ibuprofen


For many people, especially as the other symptoms improve, this is the symptom that causes the big problem and is often the main symptoms of those who we know describe as having ‘Long Covid’ as the illness carries on for weeks.

What can I do if I get Coronavirus in France?

Take it easy, and return slowly to your normal life, gradually increasing your activities. A lot of people need help to understand how to do this. This is a useful UK website to help you recover. It is now recommended not to return to exercise for the first week after the illness finishes.

Loss of Taste and Smell

There’s not much you can do about this, but it should come back within a few weeks. Some people really lose their appetite in this situation, but you need to keep eating to keep your strength up and recover.

What about Vitamins?

Many people in the UK are low in Vitamin D and need supplements during the winter. Its worth taking them but it’s not clear if they really make a difference. Some people also talk about Zinc. There is no good scientific evidence, but it probably won’t cause any harm.

If you want to know more about Coronavirus these sites should be useful:

NHS Coronavirus 

Patient.info – Coronavirus 

WHO – Coronavirus