How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).


How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  1. A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  2. A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  3. 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

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

What to do if you have symptoms

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

  • Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
  • You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.


Self-isolation and treating coronavirus symptoms

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19).

Self-isolate immediately if:

  • You have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you’ve tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
  • you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
  • Someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive

How to self-isolate

  • Do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can.
  • No public transport or use taxis.
  • Not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home.
  • Do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care.
  • Do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one.

How long to self-isolate

If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus, you’ll usually need to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

You’ll usually need to self-isolate for 14 days if:

  • Someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive
  • Someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive


Who’s at higher risk from coronavirus?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher. There are 2 levels of higher risk:

high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)

moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)

The lists below may not include everyone who’s at higher risk from coronavirus and may change as we learn more about the virus.

People at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)

You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:

  1. Have had an organ transplant
  2. Are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy.
  3. Having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer.
  4. Are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system. Such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
  5. Have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma).
  6. Have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months. Or are still taking an immunosuppressant medicine.
  7. Have been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD).
  8. Have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell).
  9. Are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
  10. Have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
  11. Have a problem with your spleen or your spleen has been removed (splenectomy)
  12. Are an adult with Down’s syndrome
  13. Are an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease
  14. Have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of your needs

People at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)

People at moderate risk from coronavirus include people who:

  1. Are 70 or older.
  2. Have a lung condition that’s not severe. Such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis.
  3. Have heart disease. Such as heart failure.
  4. Have diabetes, chronic kidney disease, liver disease. Such as hepatitis.
  5. Have a condition affecting the brain or nerves. Such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy.
  6. Have a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections.
  7. Are taking medications that can affect the immune system. Such as low doses of steroids.
  8. Are very obese (a BMI of 40 or above).
  9. Are pregnant – see advice about pregnancy and coronavirus.


Three Important Ways to Slow the Spread

  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others who don’t live with you, particularly in crowded areas.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol.


How to Protect Yourself When Going Out

  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others. 
    Choose a mask with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric that fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Stay 6 feet apart and avoid crowds. 
    The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.
  • Avoid indoor spaces as much as possible, particularly ones that aren’t well ventilated.
    You may find it harder to stay 6 feet apart in indoor spaces.
  • Wash your hands often. 
    Use soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or hand sanitiser if soap and water aren’t available.


How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

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