Is there a risk of passing on infection through shared use of or contact with towels or bed linen used by a person who develops COVID-19?
You should wash clothes, towels and bed linen that has been used by someone with symptoms at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric. Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label.
Anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness should:
- use their own towels and bed linen
- wash these separately from other people living in the household
Don’t shake dirty laundry as this can spread the virus through the air.
I have heard that someone who attends my workplace/my child’s school has COVID-19. What should I do?
You don’t need to take any specific actions as long as you and your child remain well.
If you develop a fever or new continuous cough, follow our advice for self-isolation. Phone 111 if you or your child has severe symptoms.
How soon after contact with COVID-19 do people become unwell?
Because this is a new virus, we do not know enough to have a precise incubation period. Experience so far suggests the average time it takes for symptoms to develop is 4-6 days after exposure, but it may be as short as 1 day or much longer.
How long can COVID-19 survive outside the body?
COVID-19 is a new and emerging virus so there hasn’t been any studies on how long it might survive outside the body. Other coronaviruses survive on hard surfaces for at least 48 hours, so proper cleaning’s very important.
Is my pet at risk from COVID-19?
There’s currently no evidence that companion animals or pets can be infected with the COVID-19.
It's always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This can help to protect you and your pet against common infections that can pass between pets and humans.
I am a carer, what will happen if I need to be in household isolation?
If you’re a carer and need to be in household isolation because you or someone you live with is unwell, you should discuss the needs of the person you care for with your health protection team, social worker or primary care team. They’ll assess the risk to the health of the person you care for to find out what support they’ll need while you’re isolated.
You should also:
- speak with your family and friends about who could take over your caring role if you become unwell or need to self-isolate - just in case local services can’t provide support
- have key information about the person you care for easily available so that anyone taking over care has all the information they need
If you or your friends and family are unable to care for someone, contact your local social work department (PDF,198KB) for help.
What about my home visits from health and social care staff?
If you need a home visit while you’re self-isolating, tell your care provider in advance that you’re following our stay at home advice so they can follow the appropriate guidance.
What effect does COVID-19 have if someone is pregnant?
As this is a new virus, how it affects someone who is pregnant isn’t yet clear. You should carefully follow our social distancing guidance to be safe.
We expect that a large majority of people who are pregnant will only experience mild or moderate cold or flu-like symptoms.
People who are pregnant don’t appear to be more susceptible to the consequences of COVID-19 than the general population.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has more detailed guidance about COVID-19 for people who are pregnant
I have a condition or take medicines that suppress my immunity. Do I need to take any special precautions if someone in my household is self-isolating or I have symptoms myself?
You should speak to a health professional if you:
- take medicines that suppress your immune system, for example medicines you take after a transplant
- are having other treatment that might make you more vulnerable to infections, for example cancer or steroid treatment
People with weakened immune systems can show different signs of COVID-19 infection. Speak to you lead clinician or phone 111 if you’re concerned about any new symptoms.
You should carefully follow our social distancing guidance to be safe.
How should I clean surfaces in my home if someone has been unwell with a cough, cold or other respiratory illness?
Many readily available household cleaners will kill viruses and bacteria. You can either use a:
- combined detergent/disinfectant solution
- neutral general purpose detergent followed by disinfection
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution and any guidance on application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants.
Always wash your hands after cleaning. Wash or dispose of cleaning cloths as usual.
Will wearing a mask help to prevent spreading the virus?
There’s not enough evidence to suggest using a face mask helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Is it safe to drink from water fountains?
In general, you shouldn’t drink directly from the spout of a water fountain.
If the spout is a suitable design you can fill cups and water bottles. Spouts with ‘swan neck’ designs are most suitable for this.
You should avoid contact between the spout and your lips, or between the spout and the cup/container being filled.