Stay At Home Advice

Stay at home advice

If you have a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature, however mild, stay at home for 7 days from the day your symptoms started. This will help to protect others in your community while you’re infectious.

What to consider

If you have to stay at home for 7 days:

  • plan ahead and ask others for help to make sure you can stay at home successfully
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home
  • stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible
  • sleep alone if possible
  • wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds regularly
  • stay away from the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible
  • consider whether older people and those with underlying health conditions can stay in another house for the 7 days you need to stay at home

What we mean by staying at home (self-isolating)

If you have to stay at home for 7 day you shouldn’t go to work, school or public areas.

Avoid close contact with others by:

  • avoiding having visitors
  • not using taxis or public transport
  • asking a friend or neighbour to get your shopping or arranging for a delivery to be left at your door
  • not sharing towels, clothes, toothbrushes or razors

You should also avoid kissing and having sex.

If you live with someone who has to stay at home (self-isolate)

As long as you have no symptoms yourself you can continue your normal activities. This includes attending work or school and using public transport.

The person who has to stay at home may need or appreciate your help with errands, such as collecting shopping or prescriptions.

Wash your hands regularly

Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds regularly and tell others in your household to do the same. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if your hands aren’t visibly dirty.

Dry your hands using a separate towel from other people.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Stay away from others

Separate yourself from other people in your home and keep the door closed. If you can’t stay in a separate room, try to stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from the other people.

Stay in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened. Try to keep the window open as much as possible to help with ventilation and air flow. This will help to keep clean air moving through your room.

Each person should:

  • sleep in a different bed where possible
  • use their own toothbrushes, towels, linen, cups, plates, bowls and cutlery
  • take meals to their own room to eat

You can still use your garden as long as stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people. If possible, each person should use the outside area separately.

Shared living spaces

Spend as little time as possible in your kitchen, bathrooms and sitting areas and keep these areas well ventilated.

If you can, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. If you share a kitchen, avoid using it while others are present.

If you share a toilet and bathroom, wipe any surfaces you come in contact and clean it after every use with a household detergent that’s active against viruses and bacteria.

Use a dishwasher if you have one. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash your plates and cutlery using washing up liquid and warm water, and dry them thoroughly with a separate tea towel.

Collecting shopping and prescriptions

If possible, ask a friend, family member or delivery services to run errands on your behalf.

Pharmacies can often arrange to deliver repeat prescriptions if you run out while you remain at home. Other people can collect a prescription on your behalf.

Single parents

If you and your children live alone, follow our advice as best you can.

Children appear to be less severely affected by COVID-19. If your child develops symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from the onset of their symptoms.

Taking children to school

As long as your children have no symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, they can still go to school.

If possible, ask a friend or family member to drop them off and pick them up from school,

If you live with an older, vulnerable or pregnant person

If you live with an elderly, vulnerable or pregnant person keep following our advice as best you can.

You should consider whether they can stay in another house for the 7 days you need to stay at home.

Cleaning products

Clean all surfaces every day with a household cleaner that’s active against viruses and bacteria. Pay special attention to frequently touched areas. Usual household products like detergents and bleach are effective.

Wash your hands with soap and water after cleaning surfaces and handling clothing and bedding.

Waste disposal

You can securely store personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths within disposable rubbish bags. These should be:

  • placed into another bag
  • tied securely
  • kept separate from other waste in your room
  • put aside for at least 72 hours before being putting in your usual external household waste bin

Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.


Don’t shake dirty laundry as this can spread the virus through the air.

Wash laundry using the highest temperature setting indicated on the garment care label. Where possible, wash laundry separately from other people living in your household.

If you don’t have a washing machine, wait a further 3 days after your 7 day isolation period has ended to take your laundry to a launderette.

Medical or dental treatment

Postpone any non-essential healthcare appointments including medical, dental or optician appointments.

If you’re concerned or have been asked to attend an appointment within the 7 days you’ve to stay at home, discuss this with your GP, local hospital or outpatient service using the number they’ve provided.


As you have to stay at home you can’t travel for 7 days. You can re-arrange your travel for a date after the 7 days.

If you have travel insurance, contact your insurer and explain that you’ll not be able to travel for health reasons.

Face masks

Face masks aren’t effective at preventing the spread of the infection.

They are important in clinical settings, such as hospitals, but there’s very little evidence of their benefit outside these settings. However, if you have a carer you may be asked to wear a mask to minimise the risk to them.

Looking after your wellbeing

Staying at home for a prolonged period of time can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and you may feel low.

It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if and when you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media.

Think about things you can do during your time at home, such as cooking, reading, online learning or watching films. If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your home or garden.

After staying at home for 7 days

You can return to your normal routine after 7 days if you feel better and haven’t had a high temperature in the past 2 days.

Phone your GP or NHS 24 (111) if your symptoms haven’t improved after 7 days.

Your cough may persist for several weeks after the infection clears and other symptoms get better. A persistent cough alone doesn’t mean you must remain at home for more than 7 days.