The latest guidelines on helping prevent the spread of coronavirus is that everyone with flu-like symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate for the next seven days. What does self-isolating mean in practice, and how do you do it while l maintaining a (relatively) normal life? These are the main steps you need to take to help reduce the spread of the virus.
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1. Stay at home
If you're currently unwell, avoid all public places including schools, restaurants, parks, and, of course, your workplace. You must stay home for seven days. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the date you present with symptoms. If they get symptoms they then need to stay in for seven days from the time the symptoms present.
If you live with someone over 70 or with pre-existing health conditions and you present with symptoms, they should stay somewhere else for 14 days. If this isn't possible, keep as much distance from them as possible,
2. Ask for deliveries to be left on your doorstep
It's fine to have food delivered to be dropped off by a friend, but don't have them come in. Instead, ask them to leave any packages or parcels on your front porch.
Many online delivery services are now asking you if you have extra delivery requests now or if you are self isolating, so put these to use.
3. Wash your hands frequently
Yes, this still applies at home even if you're not going outside. This is mainly to protect anyone you're sharing your home with. Do this regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
4. Minimise bathroom and kitchen sharing
If you live in a house with other people, it's very important to minimise their exposure to any virus through kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Use the kitchen separately from everyone else and the bathroom last – clean all surfaces thoroughly after use (if you're able) and don't share bathroom or kitchen towels. Take them to your room if flat sharing.
5. Dispose of all waste separately
If you're ill, put all your waste, including used tissues, in two plastic bags and don't throw out for now. If you need to be tested for coronavirus, the NHS will advise you on how to dispose of your waste correctly.
6. How to self isolate if you're not ill
If you aren't currently experiencing symptoms, but want to protect yourself as much as possible, the most important thing you can do right now if to avoid large gatherings of people: that includes offices, public transport, and social events.
Ask your employer to work from home if at all possible; if you aren't able to work from home, walk, drive, or cycle to work.
Finally, avoid supermarkets and shop online instead.
Disclaimer: the information provided in this article is for guidance only and does not constitute official medical advice. For the latest official coronavirus advice, please visit the NHS website (opens in new tab).