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Staying at home if you are unwell

Staying at home when you are unwell is important to help prevent the spread of infection to others.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work/carry out normal activities, the advice is to, try and stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel well enough to resume normal activities and no longer have a high temperature.

Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend.

If you test positive

You should stay at home for five days and avoid contact with others to help reduce the spread of infection.

Avoid meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days, especially if their immune system means they're at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they've had a COVID-19 vaccine.

This starts from the day after you did the test or the day you developed symptoms.

People aged 18 and under are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with others for a minimum of three days from the day after you did the test.

How to avoid passing COVID-19 to others

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test you should:

  • try to work from home if you can - if you're unable to work from home, ask your employer about options available to you
  • stay at home if you can - this helps reduce the number of people you have contact with
  • avoid contact with people at higher risk from COVID-19, especially if their immune system means they're at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they've had a COVID-19 vaccine
  • follow advice on how to avoid spreading COVID-19 to people you live with
  • let people who need to come into your home know that you've tested positive or have symptoms - they can then take steps to protect themselves, such as wearing a face covering that fits well, staying away from you as much as they can, and washing their hands regularly
  • contact your healthcare provider and tell them about your positive test result or symptoms if you're asked to attend a medical or dental appointment in person
  • ask friends, family or neighbours to get food or other essentials for you

If you leave your home

You can take steps to avoid spreading COVID-19 if you leave your home:

In the 5 days after your positive test result

While you have symptoms of COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or feel unwell

  • wear a face covering that fits snugly against your face and has more than 1 layer
  • avoid contact with people at higher risk from COVID-19, especially if their immune system means they're at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they've had a COVID-19 vaccine
  • avoid indoor or crowded places (including public transport or large social gatherings) or where there is not much fresh air
  • do any exercise outdoors and where you will not be in close contact with other people
  • avoid touching your face
  • cover your hands and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser, after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose, and before you eat and handle food

Help and support while staying at home

It may be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others in their household, the person who tests positive should:

  • Stay in their room and isolate from the rest of the household
  • Spend as little time as possible in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas
  • Avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat
  • Use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household where possible. If a separate bathroom is not available, clean the area after you have used it
  • You should use separate towels from other household members, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for drying your hands
  • Keep your room well-ventilated by opening a window to the outside
  • Use a face covering or a surgical mask when spending time in shared areas inside your home to minimise the risk of spread to others

For more information see Self-isolation and treating coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

While you're staying at home:

  • you can get help with everyday tasks, like collecting shopping or medicines, from an NHS volunteer
  • you might be able to get sick pay or other types of financial support if you're not able to work

Find out about help and support while you're staying at home

Repeat prescriptions

You can use a range of different websites to order an NHS repeat prescription for home delivery. Find out more from the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/pharmacies/how-to-order-repeat-prescriptions-online/

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