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Protect yourself and others from spread of infection
The best way to protect yourself and others from infection is to avoid close contact with people who are ill. General advice on avoiding infection is given below.
If you feel unwell with cold symptoms, cough or fever, you should try to avoid contact with other people. Do not go to work, school or pre-school. This applies even if you only feel slightly unwell. It is important that you do not risk infecting others.
Stay at home for as long as you feel unwell. If your condition gets worse and you are unable to care for yourself at home, please call 1177 for healthcare advice. Do not return to work or school for at least two days after you have recovered.
Older people are at greater risk of serious illness, and so it is important not to visit people in hospital or care homes unnecessarily. Do not visit these types of places if you feel at all unwell. If your work involves caring for older people, do not go to work if you have a cough or a cold.
Watch for symptoms of COVID-19
The main symptoms reported are a fever and a cough. Other common symptoms are shortness of breath, a sore throat, a headache and aching muscles or joints. Most people only experience mild symptoms that get better by themselves through self-care at home. Some people develop more severe illness such as breathing difficulties or pneumonia.
Wash your hands often
Our hands are a good environment for infectious agents. The infection is transmitted to others when we shake hands. So, wash your hands often with soap and hot water, for at least 20 seconds.
Always wash your hands when you get home or into work, before meals, when preparing food, after toilet use, and when your hands are visibly dirty. Use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
Cough and sneeze into your elbow
When you cough or sneeze, you spread tiny droplets containing infectious agents. If you cough or sneeze into your elbow or a paper tissue, you can prevent the infection from spreading to people around you or from contaminating your hands. Always put used tissues into the bin and wash your hands afterwards.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Infection is spread through mucous membranes in the eyes, nose and mouth. One way to prevent respiratory infections generally is to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.