What is Self-Isolation?

Tuesday, 31 March 2020
What is Self-Isolation?

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving, social distancing measures are now in place around the world and self-isolation is more important than ever to prevent the spread of the virus but what exactly is self-isolation and how does it help?



What is self-isolation?


This is the process of staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people. This prevents the spread of coronavirus to your friends, family and others in your community.


When self-isolating, you should:


  • stay at home
  • not go to work or any public area
  • not use public transport
  • not allow visitors in your home
  • get your groceries and medication delivered by friends, family members or delivery services. These can be left on your door to avoid any physical contact.


When should I self-isolate?


You should self-isolate if:


  • you have recently returned from travelling in a high-risk area even if you don’t have symptoms
  • you are displaying symptoms
  • you live with someone who is displaying symptoms


How long should I self-isolate for if I have symptoms?


If you are displaying symptoms such as a high temperature or a new continuous cough, you should self-isolate for 7 days. After 7 days if you do not have a high temperature, you no longer need to self-isolate, however, if your high temperature remains, you should continue to self-isolate until your temperature returns to normal.


How long should I self-isolate for if I live with someone who has symptoms?


You should self-isolate for 14 days from day their symptoms appeared. This is because it can take 14 days for the symptoms to appear.


If more than one person in your household has symptoms, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the day the symptoms started with the first person.


What if I’m self-isolating because I live with someone who has symptoms and then develop symptoms myself?


If this happens, you should self-isolate for a further 7 days from when your symptoms start, this may mean that you are self-isolating for more than 14 days.


What if I need medical help during self-isolation?


If you require medical help during self-isolation, you should stay at home. You should use online or telephone services. It is important that you do not visit a hospital or GP surgery.


What if I live with a vulnerable person and I develop symptoms?


If you live with someone who is over 70, is pregnant, or has long-term medical condition, you should try to arrange for the vulnerable person to live with family or friends for 14 days. If this isn’t possible, try to keep at least 2 metres apart and don’t share a bed.



How can I prevent the spread of infection in my home?


To avoid the spread of infection, you should:


  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water
  • use hand sanitiser when soap and water is not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze
  • dispose of used tissues straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • clean shared surfaces regularly using your normal cleaning products
  • clean bathroom surfaces each time you use it, you can use disinfectant wipes to wipe down the surface you have touched
  • not share towels


Self-isolation is an essential part of preventing the spread of coronavirus. Make sure you follow the advice within this guide to protect your friends, family members and the wider community if you’re displaying symptoms.


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Other relevant blogs:


What is Social Distancing?

Top Tips for Working from Home

Top Tips for Self-Isolating Students

Previous Post

What is social distancing?

Governments and health officials around the world are asking people to practise social distancing to reduce pressures on health service and prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). We explain what social distancing is, who it affects and how it can help during the current global pandemic.

30 Mar 2020


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