Coronavirus NHS Information

 
Information:

Help the NHS respond to coronavirus

Use the quick NHS coronavirus status checker to tell us about your current experience of the virus.

This will help the NHS plan its response to coronavirus by showing where the virus is spreading and how it affects people.

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave your home for very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

Important

These reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

How to stop infection spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus.

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

Don't

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Looking after your wellbeing

To help yourself stay well while you're at home:

  • stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media
  • try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
  • do light exercise at home, or outside once a day – see NHS fitness studio: exercises you can do at home

What to do if you need medical help

If you need medical help for any reason, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.

If you need help or advice not related to coronavirus:

  • for health information and advice, use the NHS website or your GP surgery website
  • for urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service – only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
  • for life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance

Read more advice about getting medical help at home.

Pregnancy advice

If you're pregnant and worried about coronavirus, you can get advice about coronavirus and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Volunteer to help the NHS

You can help people at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus by joining the NHS Volunteer Responders.

Read more about the NHS Volunteer Responders on the NHS England website.

Information:

More advice about staying at home

Get answers to common questions about staying at home on GOV.UK.

Advice for people at higher risk

Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill. But some people are at a higher risk and need to take extra steps to avoid becoming unwell.

People at increased risk

You may be at increased risk from coronavirus if you:

  • are 70 or older
  • are pregnant
  • have a condition that may increase your risk from coronavirus
Conditions that may increase your risk

How to protect yourself from coronavirus

The advice for people who may be at increased risk from coronavirus is the same as for most other people.

You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

Pregnancy advice

If you're pregnant and worried about coronavirus, you can get specific advice about coronavirus and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

People most at risk

People most at risk from coronavirus are sometimes called "shielded" or "extremely vulnerable" people.

This includes people who:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition or are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
Information:

People most at risk are being contacted by the NHS.

Speak to your GP or care team if you have not been contacted and think you should have been.

How to protect yourself from coronavirus

People most at risk from coronavirus need to take extra steps to avoid getting it. This is known as "shielding".

It's recommended you follow this advice for at least 12 weeks.

Do

  • stay at home at all times – do not leave your home to buy food, collect medicine or exercise

  • stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people in your home as much as possible

  • get food and medicine delivered and left outside your door – ask friends and family to help or register at GOV.UK to get coronavirus support if you need it

  • prepare a hospital bag, including a list of the medicines you're taking, in case you need to go into hospital

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • make sure anyone who comes into your home washes their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • clean objects and surfaces you touch often (like door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products

  • clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example by wiping the surfaces you have touched

Don't

  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family, unless they're providing essential care

  • do not stop taking any prescription medicines without speaking to your doctor

How to look after your wellbeing

Staying at home and reducing contact with other people can be hard.

There are things you can try to help you to stay well:

People with certain health conditions

Some charities and organisations have worked with the NHS to produce specific advice about coronavirus.

Asthma – Asthma UK: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Other lung conditions, such as COPD – British Lung Foundation: coronavirus and COVID-19

Joint and muscle conditions, such as arthritis – Versus Arthritis: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Heart disease – British Heart Foundation: coronavirus – what it means for you if you have heart or circulatory disease

Stroke – Stroke Association: information on coronavirus for stroke survivors

Symptoms and what to do

Do not leave your home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Do not leave your home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • 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)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Information:

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Babies and children

Call 111 for advice if you're worried about a baby or child.

If they seem very unwell, are getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call 999.

Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.

Self-isolation if you or someone you live with has symptoms

Self-isolation helps stop coronavirus spreading

Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

This is called self-isolation.

If you are self-isolating, you must:

  • not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home

You can use your garden, if you have one.

Information:

If you're not sure if you need to self-isolate

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do.

How long to self-isolate

If you have symptoms

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you'll need to self-isolate for 7 days.

After 7 days:

  • if you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate
  • if you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal

You do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after 7 days. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

If you live with someone who has symptoms

If you live with someone who has symptoms, you'll need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.

If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

If you get symptoms, self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you're self-isolating for longer than 14 days.

If you do not get symptoms, you can stop self-isolating after 14 days.

After self-isolation

You still need to stay at home when you finish self-isolating, but you can go out for essential trips such as buying food.

Read about coronavirus advice for everyone.

Information:

Help the NHS respond to coronavirus

Use the quick NHS coronavirus status checker to tell us about your current experience of the virus.

This will help the NHS plan its response to coronavirus by showing where the virus is spreading and how it affects people.

Get an isolation note to give to your employer

If you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to stay off work.

You do not need to get a note from a GP.

Information:

If you have symptoms of coronavirus and need to stay at home, use the 111 coronavirus service to get an isolation note.

If you have symptoms and live with a vulnerable person

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from each other. If possible, try not to share a bed.

Reducing the spread of infection in your home

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards

  • clean objects and surfaces you touch often (like door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products

  • clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example by wiping the surfaces you have touched

Don't

  • do not share towels, including hand towels and tea towels

Information:

Read more advice about self-isolation on GOV.UK.

Treating coronavirus symptoms at home

To help yourself stay well while you're at home:

  • rest and sleep
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear
  • take paracetamol to lower your temperature
Can I take ibuprofen if I have coronavirus?

There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.

But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

If you are already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking it without checking first.

What to do if you need medical help while self-isolating

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Urgent advice:Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

If you need medical help not related to coronavirus, you may be able to get help online or over the phone.

Read our advice about getting medical help from home.

More information

Page last reviewed: 6 April 2020
Next review due: 7 April 2020