How to self-isolate (source: nhs.uk/bbc.co.uk)
What is self-isolation?
Self-isolating means staying at home and not leaving it, other than for exercise. Don’t go to work, school or public areas during this time.
If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials. If you are unable to get supplies delivered, you should do what you can to limit social contact when you do leave the house.
Who should self-isolate?
Everyone who shows coronavirus symptoms – a fever of above 37.8C, a persistent cough or breathing problem – and everyone who lives in the same house or flat as someone with symptoms.
If you live alone, you must stay at home for seven days from the day symptoms start. If you, or someone you live with, develop symptoms, the entire household needs to isolate for 14 days to monitor for signs of Covid-19
If someone else does become ill during that period, their seven-day isolation starts that day. For example, it might run from day three to day 10 – when that person’s isolation would then end. It would not restart if another member of the household fell ill, But anyone who fell ill on day 13 would see their seven-day isolation begin then – for their illness rather than to monitor for symptoms – meaning they would spend a total of 20 days at home
The person with the symptoms should stay in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened, and keep away from other people in the home.
People are being advised not to ring NHS 111 or their GP to report their symptoms unless they are worried.
Who shouldn’t go out at all?
About 1.5 million people with very serious health conditions will be contacted by the NHS and urged not go out at all for at least 12 weeks. This is being referred to as shielding.
Others in the same household, and carers, can go out as long they observe proper social distancing.
The most vulnerable group includes:
Certain types of cancer patients
Organ transplant patients
People with certain genetic diseases
People with serious respiratory conditions like cystic fibrosis and severe chronic bronchitis
People receiving certain drug treatments which suppress the immune system
Pregnant women with heart disease
They will be contacted with advice on how to manage their self-isolation, including getting supplies of essential food and medicines.
The government says it will work with local authorities, supermarkets and the armed forces to ensure this happens.
What happens if you have a vulnerable person living with you during self-isolation?
You should keep at least 2m away from a vulnerable person (such as pregnant women, the elderly or those with an underlying health condition) during any period of isolation, according to PHE.
Limit time spent together in shared spaces, like kitchens, and keep all rooms well-ventilated. If they can, the vulnerable person should take their meals back to their room to eat.
A vulnerable person should also use separate towels from the rest of the household. If possible, they should use a separate bathroom. If that is not possible, the bathroom should be cleaned every time it’s used (for example, wiping surfaces with which you have come into contact).
People living with someone in isolation should wash their hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially after coming into contact with them.
Personal waste (like tissues) should be double-bagged and put aside for 72 hours before being put in your outside bin.
- Try to keep at least 2 metres (3 steps) from other people in your home, particularly older people or those with long-term health conditions
- regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- ask friends and family and delivery services to deliver things like food shopping and medicines – but avoid contact with them
- You shouldn’t share towels, toiletries or other household items with someone in isolation and they should have a separate bathroom. If that is not possible, the isolated person should use the bathroom last, cleaning it thoroughly afterwards if they are able.
- If you are self-isolating and share a kitchen, try to avoid using it when other people are there and take your meals back to your room to eat. Clean all the surfaces at home with household cleaning products daily.
- sleep alone if possible
- Any rubbish that the isolated person has been in contact with should be double-bagged and kept. If the person tests positive, you will be told what to do with their waste.
- try to stay away from older people and those with long-term health conditions
- drink plenty of water and take everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol to help with your symptoms
- do not have visitors (ask people to leave deliveries outside)
do not leave the house, for example to go for a walk, to school or public places
- Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
your condition gets worse
your symptoms do not get better after 7 days