At the time of writing, Covid-19 has infected more than 1 million people worldwide and has killed over 50,000. The UK government mandates everyone to stay at home and avoid unnecessary trips outside the house to limit the spread of the deadly virus. The most common symptoms of Covid-19 is high temperature and continuous cough. For most people, these symptoms are mild. But it can be dangerous and fatal for the elderly and those with underlying health issues.

Below are some of the best practices on how to keep yourself and those around you safe from Covid-19.

If you are sick and alone.

If you are living alone and have mild symptoms caused by Covid-19, stay at home for 7 days. Start your count from the day your symptoms started. If you develop a fever, keep isolating yourself until your temperature goes back to normal. You don’t need to continue self-isolating after 7 days if you don’t have a high temperature. There’s also no need to continue your self-quarantine if you just have a cough after 7 days. Coughs may linger for weeks after the virus has run its course.

If you are sick and living with other people.

If you are living with other people and you develop coronavirus symptoms, stay at home for 7 days. All other members of your household must self-quarantine for 14 days. The count starts at the day when the first person in the house showed symptoms.

Any member of the family who develops symptoms must stay home for 7 days regardless of what day they are in the two weeks quarantine period. The count will begin on the day when symptoms first appeared.

Protecting the most vulnerable members of your household.

If the situation allows, transfer any vulnerable members of your family (i.e. the elderly and those with underlying illnesses) to a friend’s or another family member’s house until your quarantine is over. If you can’t move them, maintain a safe distance from them as much as you can.

Keep your interactions with the vulnerable members of your household in shared spaces like sitting areas, living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms to the minimum. Maintain a distance of 3 steps (2 metres) away from them. If possible, they should use a different bed and bathroom from the rest of the family.

If you share a bathroom with vulnerable people, consider drawing a rota where they get to use the bathroom first for bathing. Make it a habit to clean the bathroom thoroughly every time you use them. Wipe and disinfect areas you’ve come in contact with.

The same guidelines apply for shared kitchens. Avoid using the kitchen when vulnerable people are around. If possible, encourage them to take their meals inside their room. They should have their own set of utensils to use.

If you are breastfeeding.

Current evidence shows that children develop less severe symptoms of coronavirus. If you are sick and breastfeeding, understand that there’s no evidence yet about Covid-19 transmitted through breast milk. However, your baby may still get infected through close contact.

The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the risks of infecting your child. However, this is more of a personal decision and we encourage you to call your GP or midwife for advice.

When to seek medical help.

Do not go to the pharmacy, hospital, or GP surgery if you have coronavirus symptoms. If you are staying at home, you don’t need a Covid-19 test. Don’t call 111 to inform them that you are self-isolating.

If your symptoms get worse after 7 days and you are finding it hard to manage, call NHS 111. You can also use the NHS’ coronavirus online service here. If you have a medical emergency, dial 999 right away.

What is the proper social distancing?

Social distancing measures help limit your interaction with other people. Thus, reducing the risks of transmitting the virus to others. Practice proper social distancing by:

  • Avoiding using public transportation when it’s not needed.
  • Keeping a safe distance from someone who’s coughing or sneezing.
  • Working from home. Your employer should be able to set this up for you.
  • Avoiding small and large public gatherings.
  • Avoiding family gatherings. Instead, use technology to keep in touch with family.
  • Contacting your doctor or other essential services via phone or online.

Other tips to keep in mind.

  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible for at least 20 seconds. You can use hand sanitiser too.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue or your bent elbow. Never with your hands. Properly dispose of used tissues immediately.
  • The World Health Organisation doesn’t recommend the use of face masks. Leave them for front liners.
  • Do not invite visitors into your home even if they are family. Carers can continue their visit but they must be provided with gloves and face masks to reduce their risks of catching the virus from you.
  • There is no concrete evidence yet of the virus infecting pets.
  • Bleach and detergents are very effective against the virus. Use this when cleaning surfaces around your home --- especially door handles, remote, tabletops, handrails, etc.
  • Dispose of cleaning cloths and used tissues in rubbish bags that should be placed into another bag. Tie securely and separate them from regular waste. Wait at least 72 hours before putting them out for collection.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry to minimise the risks of spreading the virus through the air. If you don’t have a washing machine, wait for at least 72 hours after your quarantine period before taking it to a laundry shop.

You may find these guidelines boring and limiting. And we understand. These measures are placed to help control the spread of the virus so our healthcare system can catch up and eradicate it once a vaccine becomes available. These guidelines are for your own good and are only temporary. The day will come that we will start living our normal lives again.