Health Advice

How serious is COVID-19?

The evidence shows us that the vast majority of people who get this virus have relatively mild symptoms and make a full recovery. But in a small percentage of cases, the virus can cause more severe symptoms. This is particularly true for people with a weakened immune system, for older people and for those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. 

What should I do if self-isolation is difficult?

  • You can't manage with your symptoms at home
  • Your conditions get worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after 10 days

You should use the online 111 service or if you can't use the online service call 111

How can you avoid getting and spreading the virus?

Scientists think the virus spreads via droplets from coughs and sneezes and we know it spreads easily and can stay on surfaces for a while. It's possible that a lot of us will get it and be affected by it, but if you follow the advice below you will reduce your risk and the risk to others.

  • Avoid non-essential contact with others - work from home if you can, avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and mass gatherings
  • Wash your hands - with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. Do this before leaving home and after returning home, before eating and drinking, and after coughing or sneezing
  • Cover your mouth and nose - with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze - tissue in the bin and wash, or disinfect, your hands immediately
  • Don't touch your face - especially your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Clean surfaces - disinfect surfaces around you  - especially mobiles, computers, keyboards, worktops, desks, handles...

Isolating yourself

  • Stay at home for 10 (individual) or 14 (group) days - this means not going out at all - do this even if you think your symptoms are mild
  • Ask for help - if you find it hard to stay at home - text, email, phone, friends, family, employers or your community to get help - but they mustn't come into your home
  • Keep your distance - keep at least 1 metre (around 3 steps) away from others - including family - for the full period - do not go to your GP surgery or hospital
  • Sleep alone - if you can sleep alone you must - it will help ensure people you live with aren't infected
  • Keep washing your hands - often and for 20 seconds with soap and water helps
  • Drink plenty of fluids - and take everyday pain killers like paracetamol if you need to
  • Keep cleaning - so you keep surfaces clean
  • Reduce contact with at risk people - people over 70, women who are pregnant and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk - help keep them safe.

Specialist sector advice from trusted UK organisations

Whilst the overall NHS advice remains largely the same for all people a range of trusted UK charities provide excellent advice for specific subject areas and COVID-19 (coronavirus). This list will be updated as more information and advice is provided.

Advice for people with asthma

Asthma UK

Advice for people with cancer

Macmillan Cancer Support

Advice for people with cystic fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis Trust UK

Advice for people with diabetes

Diabetes UK - The British Diabetic Association

Advice for people with heart or circulatory disease

The British Heart Foundation

Advice for people with lung conditions

British Lung Foundation

Advice for people with motor neurone disease

Resister as extremely vulnerable here:

  • After confirming you live in England, and indicating if you’ve received a letter from the NHS or not, enter your details as requested.
  • Tick “Yes I have one of the medical conditions on the list”. Even though MND is not listed explicitly MND is classed as a ‘severe respiratory condition’.

You can also register by calling 0800 028 8327.

Advice to help you stay mentally well

Mind - the mental health charity

Rehab 4 Addiction