Health and wellbeing information

Here you will find guidance for households on health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak. This is the latest information from the Department of Health.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

    Symptoms

    The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

    • new continuous cough and/or
    • high temperature

    For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

    Protection from coronavirus

    The best way to protect yourself and others for coronavirus is to:

    • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitising gel, regularly throughout the day.
    • Catch your cough or sneeze in a tissue, bin it and wash your hands.

    How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus (social distancing)

    Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

    It is particularly important for people who:

    • are 70 or over
    • have a long-term condition
    • are pregnant
    • have a weakened immune system

    If you're at high risk

    The NHS will contact you from Monday 23 March 2020 if you are at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus. You'll be given specific advice about what to do.

    Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage – wait to be contacted.

    Who is at risk?

    You may be at a particularly high risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus if you:

    • have had an organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressant medicine
    • are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy
    • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
    • have a severe chest condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
    • have another serious health condition

    Self-isolation 

    • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
    • if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. 
    • for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. 
    • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
    • if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
    • if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
    • if you have coronavirus symptoms:
      • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
      • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
      • testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
    • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
    • ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
    • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser (as shown in the video above)
    • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

    Things to help you prepare now

    Make a plan for your household or family

    The best thing you can do now is plan for how you can adapt your daily routine, and that of others in your household, to be able to follow this advice. Some of the ways in which you could prepare include:

    • talk to your neighbours and family and exchange phone numbers of household contacts
    • consider and plan for those in your home who are considered vulnerable
    • create a contact list with phone numbers of neighbours, schools, employer, chemist, NHS 111
    • set up online shopping accounts if possible