What to do if you think you or someone who know might have Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

You must stay at home if you (or anyone you live with) have coronavirus symptoms, which are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, and you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home (or to be tested – this is not available for those isolating with manageable symptoms).

You must stay at home for 7 days if you have symptoms. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. Or if they then develop symptoms (e.g. on day 13, they would need to isolate for a further 7 days, so 20 days in total).

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 find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Note: travel history is now irrelevant.

You should only use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

See the NHS COVID-19 page for further information, including:

  • How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus (social distancing)
  • How coronavirus is spread
  • Travel advice

Furthermore, see the government’s Stay at Home Guidance for further information on: required isolation periods; how to prepare for isolation; why it is important to stay at home and much more.

The below graphic should help to illustrate how long you need to isolate for, depending on whether you are the index case (the first person to contract the virus in your household) or another household member:

Avoid ibuprofen when managing COVID-19 symptoms

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that patients who have COVID-19 (or believe they could have it) should use paracetamol (or calpol for children) in preference to NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

View the Chief Medical Officer’s letter.

Tips to help you stay well

There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • washing your hands more often – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home