Self-care advice

It’s very important that you stay at home for 7 days if you have symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus (COVID-19), even if you think your symptoms are mild.

There are a few things you can do to take care of yourself at home. Do not go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital.

Treating a fever at home

It’s safe to treat most fevers at home. However, you may be at risk of becoming dehydrated.

You should:

  • wear loose, comfortable clothing - don’t try to make yourself too cold
  • drink more fluids – you should be peeing (approximately) every 6 hours
  • monitor your pee colour – a pale yellow colour means you’re unlikely to be dehydrated, whilst darker pee means you should drink more water
  • take paracetamol if you have a temperature – always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • keep your room at a comfortable temperature and make sure fresh air is circulating

When to get help

You should phone 111 if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe thirst and peeing less
  • Light-headedness or weakness
  • New, severe muscle cramps

You should also phone 111 if your symptoms worsen or if you notice new symptoms.

Treating a cough at home

It’s also safe to treat most coughs at home.

You should:

  • take pain medication such as paracetamol - always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • drink enough fluids to keep you hydrated – this is particularly important if you’ve just woken up
  • drink warm drinks as they have a soothing effect

To reduce the risk of spreading to others you should:

  • cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • wash your hands regularly
  • dispose of tissues appropriately
  • sneeze into the crook of your elbow if you don’t have a tissue

When to get help

You should phone 111 if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath that’s new or worsening

Testing for coronavirus 

You can book a test online for anyone aged 5 or over with symptoms in your household.

Key workers, and anyone in their household with symptoms, can access testing through their employer in the first instance and will be given priority.

How to access testing

Further information

Hospital discharge information

If you’ve been treated in hospital with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, a clinical assessment will determine if you can complete your recovery at home.

When you get it home it’s essential to practise household isolation.

If you have an underlying health condition or have been severely unwell in hospital, you may need to practise shielding. Staff will discuss this with you before you leave hospital.

Adults managing symptoms at home

You should follow our self-care advice to manage any symptoms you may still have at home.

What if I get worse when I get home?

Most people with coronavirus will gradually get better at home and make a full recovery. However, if your symptoms get worse at home you should phone 111 and tell them you’ve been assessed as having coronavirus. You should do this particularly if:

  • breathlessness develops or worsens
  • you have severe thirst and are peeing less than normal
  • you feel lightheaded or become very weak
  • you develop new or severe muscle cramps
  • your symptoms haven’t improved in 7 days

If you have a cough, this can last longer than 7 days. If you have no other symptoms you don’t need to seek extra help.

Phone 999 if you have a medical emergency, particularly if:

  • you’re short of breath whilst resting
  • your lips and tongue turn blue
  • your skin is ‘mottled’ or discoloured

Postnatal managing symptoms at home

If you’ve just had a baby but have also been assessed as having coronavirus and have been admitted to hospital, you should follow the advice above.

If there’s a medical emergency and you need to phone 111 or 999, inform the call handler that you’ve just had a baby.

It’s very unlikely that you will have passed coronavirus on to your child.

Read our pregnancy and newborn babies advice for more information.

Managing your child’s symptoms at home

If your child has been in hospital with confirmed or suspected coronavirus, you should follow our self-care advice to manage any symptoms your child’s may still have at home.

What if my child’s symptoms get worse at home?

Most children and babies with coronavirus will gradually get better at home and make a full recovery. However, if you’re worried about your child or baby you should phone 111 and tell them they’ve been assessed as having coronavirus. You should do this particularly if:

  • they start breathing very fast
  • they’re very thirsty and peeing less than normal
  • they’re not feeding or eating (children younger than 5)
  • they keep vomiting
  • they start to get a very high temperature again
  • their symptoms haven’t improved in 7 days

If your child or baby has a cough, this can last longer than 7 days. If they have no other symptoms you don’t need to seek extra help.

If they’re very unwell and seem to be getting worse or you think there’s something seriously wrong, phone 999, particularly if:

  • they’re short of breath whilst resting
  • their lips and tongue turn blue
  • their skin is ‘mottled’, pale or discoloured
  • they have a fit or convulsion
  • they become lethargic or difficult to wake up
  • they’re abnormally cold to touch

Don’t delay in getting help if you’re worried and always trust your instincts.

Informing your GP or other care providers

The hospital or assessment centre will update your GP that you or your child have been assessed for or admitted to hospital for coronavirus. You don’t need to phone your GP to let them know.

You should phone other care providers such as your midwife, your child’s nursery or other care providers to let them know.

Getting a sick line

You can send an isolation note to your employer as proof you need to stay off work because of coronavirus.

You don’t need to get a note from a GP.

Get an isolation note