Self-Isolating - Frequently Asked Questions
To help relieve some of the concerns you may have around self-isolating, click the drop-down questions below.
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms again at any point after ending your first period of staying at home (self-isolation or household isolation) then you must follow this guidance on self-isolation again.
This means you must stay at home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started if you live alone and arrange to have a test. If you live in a household, you must stay at home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started, arrange a test for yourself, and all other household members must stay at home for 14 days.
If you have previously tested positive but develop symptoms again, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from onset of symptoms and be tested. If you live in a household, all other household members must stay at home for 14 days.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will probably have developed some immunity to the disease. But it cannot be guaranteed that will happen in all cases, nor exactly for how long that will last. Therefore it is vital that you isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms again.
We are aware that not all these measures will be possible if you are living with children, but please keep following this guidance to the best of your ability.
What we have seen so far is that children with COVID-19 appear to be less severely affected. It is nevertheless important to do your best to ensure that all members of your household follow this guidance. Families with children can access support through Home Start.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. Infection can be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you. The current evidence is that children with COVID-19 have less severe symptoms than adults. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk, or by being in close contact; however, this will be an individual decision and can be discussed with your midwife, health visitor or GP by telephone.
If you or a family member are feeding with formula or expressed milk, you should sterilise the equipment carefully before each use. You should not share bottles or a breast pump with someone else. You can find more information at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website.
We are aware that not all these measures will be possible if you, or those you are living with, have significant conditions such as learning disabilities, autism or serious mental illness. Please keep following this guidance to the best of your ability, whilst keeping yourself and those close to you safe and well, ideally in line with any existing care plans. Learning Disability support can be accessed through Suffolk Ordinary Lives.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, it is important to reduce the spread of infection to others in your household as much as possible.
You should stay in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened, separate from other people in your home if this is possible. Keep the door closed.
Use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household, if available. If you have to share these facilities, regular cleaning will be required. If a separate bathroom is not available, consider drawing up a bathroom rota for washing or bathing. You should use the facilities last, before thoroughly cleaning the bathroom. You should use separate towels from other household members, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand hygiene purposes.
You should avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens whilst others are present. Take your meals back to your room to eat. Use a dishwasher (if available) to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them by hand using detergent and warm water and dry them thoroughly, using a separate tea towel.
Where possible, arrange for anyone who is clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable to move out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of your home isolation period.
If you cannot arrange for vulnerable people to move out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible.
Those who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable should be supported to take precautions to minimise their contact with other people in your household, regardless of whether others have symptoms or not. They should minimise time spent in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas. Any shared spaces should be well ventilated.
If they can, clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable people should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. If this is not possible, consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with the clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable person using the facilities first. They should use separate towels from the rest of the household, both for drying themselves after bathing or showering and when washing their hands.
If they can, clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable members of the household should have their meals in their own rooms. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry the family’s used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly. If the clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable person is using their own utensils, remember to use a separate tea towel for drying these.
We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You must do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces.
Used correctly, a face covering may help to protect others by reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result and you live with others, consider using a face covering inside your home when spending time in shared parts of the household, in addition to avoiding contact with other members of the household as much as possible. You must stay at home for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started or from the date of your test, wearing a face covering does not replace this.
When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and tabletops. This is particularly important if you have a clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable person in the house.
Clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example, by wiping the surfaces you have touched.
To minimise the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.
Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load.
If you do not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after your self-isolation has ended when you can then take the laundry to a public launderette.
Do not invite or allow social visitors, such as other friends or family, to enter your home.
If you or a family member receive essential care in your home, then carers should continue to visit. Carers should follow the relevant care guidance to reduce the risk of you passing on the infection.
COVID-19 in the UK is spread between humans. There is limited evidence that some animals, including pets, can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) following close contact with infected humans.
At this time, there is no evidence that pets can transmit the disease to humans, however, you should wash your hands after handling your pets or their waste.
Drink water to keep yourself hydrated. You should drink enough during the day so your urine is a pale clear colour.
You can use over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol, to help with some of your symptoms. Use these according to the instructions on the packet or label and do not exceed the recommended dose.
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness or the illness of someone in your household is worsening. If it’s not an emergency, contact the NHS 111 online COVID-19 service. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111.
If it is a medical emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999 and inform the call handler or operator that you or your relative have COVID-19 symptoms.
All routine medical and dental appointments should usually be cancelled while you and the family are staying at home. If you are concerned or have been asked to attend in person within the period you are self-isolating, discuss this with your medical contact first (for example, your GP or dentist, local hospital or outpatient service), using the number they have provided.
We know that staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and that you or other household members may feel low. It can be particularly challenging if you don’t have much space or access to a garden.
It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if you need it. There are several sources of support and information that can help, such as -