For the latest information see nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get a test as soon as possible. Stay at home until you get the result.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to norma
Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:
- Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
- You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
What is self-isolation?
Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19).
This helps stop the virus spreading to other people.
How long to self-isolate
If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus, you’ll usually need to self-isolate for at least 10 days.
You’ll usually need to self-isolate for 14 days if:
- someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive
- someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
- you’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
How to avoid spreading the infection
It’s very important to do what you can to reduce the risk of you and other people getting ill with coronavirus.
You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.
- try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
If you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people.
There are some places where you must wear a face covering, such as:
- on public transport
- in shops
- when you go to hospital appointments or visit someone in hospital
Some people should not wear face coverings, such as children under 3 and people with breathing difficulties.
Social distancing: what you need to do
To stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should avoid close contact with anyone you do not live with.
This is called social distancing.
To help yourself stay well:
- get plenty of exercise
- consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day if you’re indoors most of the day – this is to keep your bones and muscles healthy
- try to quit smoking – smoking can make you more likely to get infections like coronavirus and become seriously ill
- eat a healthy balanced diet
If you’re pregnant and worried about coronavirus, you can get advice about coronavirus and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstretricians and Gynaecologists.
There are some countries and areas where there’s a higher chance of coming into contact with someone with coronavirus.
If you’re planning to travel abroad and are concerned about coronavirus, see advice for travellers on GOV.UK.
For the latest up to date information on coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance see Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support.
The latest advice on NHS services is available here.
Adult mental health services
For information about adult mental health services in relation to coronavirus find adult mental health support.
The Supporting your mental health leaflet leaflet contains useful online links for advice, information and support. It also has phone numbers you can use in a crisis (please only call if you really need to).
For information from Lambeth Council see lambeth.gov.uk/elections-and-council/about-lambeth/coronavirus-covid-19-information
Helpline for people who are having difficulties caused by coronavirus
You or someone acting on your behalf can call the helpline for advice on issues you are having, including access to medicines and food. We’ll connect you to the right department or to other organisations, such as Age UK, who can help you get support.
Call the helpline on 020 7926 2999 which operates 8am and 8pm everyday.