BRITS are being urged to self-isolate if there's a chance they might have coronavirus – in a bid to prevent the deadly bug from spreading.
Everyone with symptoms including a persistent cough or a a fever of above 37.8C is being told to stay at home for at least seven days – meaning they have to remain indoors and avoid contact with other people.
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In fact, health secretary Matt Hancock revealed that over-70s could face up to four months "in the coming weeks" to protect themselves.
It comes as cases of Covid-19 in the UK have surged to 1,391 – with 35 people confirmed to have died from the deadly illness.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says self-isolation is currently “the most effective way” of preventing the deadly bug from spreading.
Despite this, many people have been left baffled as to whether they, too, should stay at home if they live under the same roof as someone deemed at risk.
According to Public Health England (PHE), people living with others who are self-isolating should not self-isolate themselves – unless they've had close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19.
Here, following government guidance, we take you through the steps you need to take if you have been told to self-isolate…
1. Stay at home
You should remain in your home, except for getting medical care.
Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis until you have been told that is safe to do so.
2. Separate yourself from others at home
You should stay separate yourself from other people in your home and stay in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened.
If you live in shared accommodation with a communal kitchen, bathroom and living area, you should stay in your room with the door closed, only coming out when necessary, wearing a facemask if one has been issued to you.
If this is not possible then wear a facemask if you have been issued with one. Take your meals back to your room to eat.
3. Use separate towels
You need to make sure you separate towels from other household members – both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand hygiene purposes.
Use a dishwasher (if available) to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery.
If this is not possible, wash them by hand using detergent and warm water and dry them thoroughly, using a separate tea towel.
4. Leave takeaways on the doorstep
You will need to ask for help if you require any shopping or medications. Alternatively, you can order by phone or online.
If you order takeaways or online food shops, tell the driver to leave the goods outside, in the porch, or as appropriate for your home.
You shouldn’t have any physical contact with them.
5. Call ahead before visiting your doctor
All medical appointments should be discussed in advance with your designated medical contact, using the number that has been provided to you.
This is so the surgery or hospital can take steps to minimise contact with others.
6. Wear a facemask (if advised to)
If you have been provided with facemasks, then you should wear the mask when you are in the same room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider.
If you cannot wear a facemask, the people who live with you should wear one while they are in the same room with you.
7. Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Dispose of tissues into a plastic waste bag, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds rinse and dry thoroughly.
8. Wash your hands
Wash your hands or assist the person you are caring for in washing their hands.
Experts say you need to wash your hands for 20 seconds – if in doubt, that's as long as it'll take you to hum along to Happy Birthday twice in a row.
Dr Rosemary Leonard, a general practitioner, said a 20-second routine, tackling areas between fingers, under nails, and all surfaces on the hands and wrists, is the "most important thing you can do in terms of stopping the transmission of this virus".
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
9. Don't share household items
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with other people in your home when you have used them.
After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water – dishwashers may be used to clean crockery and cutlery.
Laundry, bedding and towels should be placed in a plastic bag and washed once it is known that the tests for Covid-19 are negative.
If this is not possible and you need to wash the laundry see below for further advice on handling laundry.
10. Monitor your symptoms
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening, for example, if you have difficulty breathing, or if the person you are caring for symptoms are worsening.
What to do if you're worried you've got coronavirus
The new coronavirus is continuing to sweep its way across the globe with Britain seeing more cases in people who aren't linked to outbreaks overseas.
Symptoms of Covid-19 can include:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- difficulty breathing
In most cases, you won't know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus.
But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract, it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with heart disease or people with weakened immune systems.
It is incredibly contagious and is spread through contact with anything the virus is on as well as infected breath, coughs or sneezes.
The best way to prevent catching any form of coronavirus is to practice good hygiene.
If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with others.
You should also cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze then throw it away and wash your hands.
Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces which you may have touched is also important.
Meanwhile, leading symptom-checking provider to the NHS Doctorlink has been updated to help identify patients' risk of having coronavirus.
If it’s not an emergency, you should call your designated medical contact point using the number that has been provided to you.
If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, inform the call handler or operator that you are being tested for Covid-19.
11. Don't have visitors
You shouldn't have visitors to your home and only those who live in your home should be allowed to stay.
If you think there is an essential need for someone to visit, then discuss it with your designated medical contact first.
If it is urgent to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, do this over the phone.
12. Keep away from pets
Try to keep away from your pets. If this is unavoidable, wash your hands before and after contact.
13. Be careful with waste
All waste that has been in contact with the individual, including used tissues, and masks if used, should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full.
The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied.
Do not dispose of it or put it out for collection until you know that patient does not have novel coronavirus.
Should the individual test positive, you will be instructed what to do with the waste.
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