It’s likely you’ll have heard the term ‘self-isolate’ a fair bit over the last few weeks, as cases of coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) have been reported across the world. You may also have spotted people wearing surgical masks too, despite there being little evidence that they’re beneficial.
It seems like the official guidelines on what to do change almost daily at the moment, with many employers now advising staff to work from home where possible… but if (like many) you’re still confused about what self-isolating involves – including whether or not it’s okay to do things like hang out with your housemates or pop to the shops – we asked Dr Daniel Atkinson, Clinical Lead for online health service, Treated, to answer the most common questions.
Should I self-isolate because of coronavirus?
For coronavirus to be successfully contained, it relies on people taking self-isolation seriously. The NHS has set out some guidelines about what to do – and what not to do – if you end up in this position. Current advice states that you should self-isolate if you – or somebody you live with – have a cough or a fever (or if told to by a medical professional for any other reason) for 14 days. Some people are voluntarily choosing to socially distance themselves, as encouraged by the government, which is a different thing to self-isolation (and is less restrictive).
‘Whilst it’s not official advice for the elderly and those with health conditions to self-isolate regardless, the measures in place are there to protect those most vulnerable to the virus,’ says Dr Atkinson, who has been a practicing GP for over fifteen years. ‘As a precautionary measure, the elderly and more vulnerable should consider staying at home, and getting other people to get their groceries and any medication they need. Ensure your cupboards at home have the things you’ll need during this period.’
This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.
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