One of the strategies the UK government will use to control the spread of COVID-19 is self-isolation. In case you're wondering exactly what self-isolation means, we've provided ten questions and answers.
1. Who needs to isolate themselves?
People who have traveled to high-risk countries and have come into contact with a known case have been asked to isolate themselves. And when symptoms appear, these people are brought to special hospital units to prevent further spread.
To reduce the impact on the NHS and protect vulnerable people from COVID-19, it is suggested that people with mild cold symptoms will be asked to isolate themselves at home in the next few weeks.
Another reason for self-isolation, which has not been discussed much, is that particularly vulnerable people want to prevent infection. Although such isolation is not yet appropriate, it may be with the spread of COVID-19 in the UK. Self-isolation becomes easier if you plan this option.
2. How can I tell if I'm isolating myself properly?
The NHS advises people to stay at home, separate from other people where it is practical, and only allow people who normally live with them to stay in the same apartment.
But precautionary self-isolation does not mean stopping your whole life or having no contact with anyone. It means that you stay indoors or in your garden as much as possible on your property to prevent other people from being exposed to your germs. You may only want to live in a few rooms in your home and not spend time with others in your household. Otherwise, you can do what you would normally do in your own home.
3. Do I have to isolate myself?
The government has issued emergency powers that mean that people can be forced to stay at home. But nobody wants these powers to be used. The government is encouraged to provide support for sickness and benefit payments to facilitate self-isolation.
4. Should I get tested for COVID-19 if I only have cold symptoms?
It is important to prioritize tests on people who have traveled to a high-risk zone, have had contact with known COVID-19 patients, or have particularly relevant symptoms. If in doubt, call NHS 111 or use the Coronavirus service.
5. How do I get treatment for an existing illness?
Talk to your family doctor about your specific needs. Regular recipes can be picked up by others on your behalf and brought to your home. Other treatments can be done, but may require special precautions.
6. Does this mean that my roommates may be free to go out even if I isolate myself?
Yes. If you don't test positive for COVID-19, you can go out. There are currently no plans for healthy people who have no breathing difficulties or exposure or travel history to isolate themselves.
7. What if I need help with young children?
It is ideal to keep your distance from other household members, but only if this is reasonably practical. Trustworthy family members or friends can easily bring children to school or kindergarten. Contact your health visitor or social services if you need additional support for your children.
8. How do I get food or other necessities?
If you don't live with adults who are good at shopping, try to have your food delivered either by a friend or neighbor, or through an online delivery service. Ask these people to leave your purchases on the doorstep instead of taking them to your house. Consider older or disabled friends or neighbors who may not be able to get into the shops themselves and ask if you can help them shop.
9. How do I stay healthy?
Prolonged isolation can affect mental health. It is important to reduce the likelihood of anxiety or depression. Keep in touch with family and friends and see if someone checks you regularly. We have to stay fit, so do what you can without leaving home. Try cleaning the bathroom and kitchen surfaces daily.
10. What do I do with my pets?
If possible, stay away from your pets or wash your hands before and after contact. You can let your cat out, but try to get a friend to walk your dog. You should wash your hands with the dog after walking.
Julii Brainard, Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia and Paul Hunter, Professor of Medicine at the University of East Anglia
This article is republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.