If you have a vulnerable person living with you
Minimise as much as possible the time any vulnerable family members spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas, and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
Aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from vulnerable people you live with and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible. If they can, they should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. Make sure they use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying themselves after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes.
If you do share a toilet and bathroom with a vulnerable person, it is important that you clean them every time you use them (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with). Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with the vulnerable person using the facilities first.
If you share a kitchen with a vulnerable person, avoid using it while they are present. If they can, they should take their meals back to their room to eat. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry the family’s used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly. If the vulnerable person is using their own utensils, remember to use a separate tea towel for drying these.
We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces.
Protecting those who are extremely vulnerable
The NHS has identified that there are up to 1.5 million people who are extremely vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus due to their medical status. From this week, those identified will be contacted by letter and, where possible, text and advised to stay at home and avoid face to face contact for at least the next 12 weeks to protect themselves. You can find the guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from Covid-19 on gov.uk.
This may cause concern for people with these conditions, and their families and friends, though many in this group are already taking sensible measures to protect themselves. People will also be concerned about the practicalities of everyday life – how to get food, everyday household items, sanitary products and medicines. Many people will have family, friends and neighbours who will step in to help. But not everyone will have a support network for all, or part of, the isolation period. To provide that safety net the Government is setting up a local support system for those that cannot use friends and family to get their basic supplies.
People who have been identified as extremely medically vulnerable will be able to access this delivery package through a specific website and hotline. We will deliver this in partnership with Local Authorities, Local Resilience Forums, the food suppliers and voluntary organisations. There will be no charge for the standard box of supplies. Community pharmacies will ensure those in this group that need medicines will get them.
If you are living with children
Keep following this advice to the best of your ability, however, we are aware that not all these measures will be possible.
What we have seen so far is that children with coronavirus appear to be less severely affected. It is nevertheless important to do your best to follow this guidance.
If you are breastfeeding while infected
There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. Infection can be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you. The current evidence is that children with coronavirus get much less severe symptoms than adults. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk or by being in close contact; however, this will be an individual decision and can be discussed with your midwife, health visitor or GP by telephone.
If you or a family member are feeding with formula or expressed milk, you should sterilise the equipment carefully before each use. You should not share bottles or a breast pump with someone else.
You can find more information at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website.
If you have pets in the household
At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs and cats can be infected with coronavirus.
If you or your family need to seek medical advice
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness or the illness in any household members is worsening. If it’s not an emergency, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the call handler or operator that you or your relative have coronavirus symptoms.
All routine medical and dental appointments should usually be cancelled whilst you and the family are staying at home. If you are concerned or have been asked to attend in person within the period you are home isolating, discuss this with your medical contact first (for example, your GP, local hospital or outpatient service), using the number they have provided. If your concerns are related to your coronavirus symptoms contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.