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 coronavirus?
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 coronavirus. What should I do?
You don’t need to take any specific actions as long as you and your child remain well and you haven’t been contacted because you’re a close contact of someone with the virus. If you are identified as a close contact, you will be given further advice.
If you develop symptoms, follow our advice for self-isolation and arrange to be tested. Phone 111 if you or your child has severe symptoms.
How soon after contact with the virus 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 to 6 days after exposure, but it may be as short as 1 day or much longer.
How long can coronavirus survive outside the body?
Items that may have been contaminated with the virus aren’t considered to be infectious after 3 days. This includes any personal items or clothing used by someone who has had symptoms
After 3 days you can:
- place rubbish bags containing personal waste, such as tissues used by someone with symptoms, in the normal waste
- take laundry used by someone who is ill to a launderette
Regular household cleaning is important to remove the virus from surfaces and household items quickly.
I have had a positive test result for COVID-19 but I have not had any symptoms-what should I do?
If you have had a positive test result you should follow all the guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
You must isolate at home for 10 days from the day your test was taken. All other members of your household must isolate at home for 14 days from the day your test was taken.
If you develop symptoms in the days after your test, you should re-start your own and your household’s isolation from the day your symptoms start.
I’ve had a second test and it’s still showing positive for coronavirus. What should I do?
Repeating testing to show you no longer have coronavirus is not currently recommended for the general public.
The test can stay positive for several weeks after you’ve had coronavirus but this doesn’t mean that you are still infectious. You may end self-isolation after 10 days as long as you feel better and no longer have a high temperature.
If your employer has told you that you need to be re-tested, you should follow their advice on when you can return to work.
Because this is a new disease, it is not yet known how much immunity people will develop following an episode of infection, or how long any immunity will last. If you recover from an episode of coronavirus confirmed by testing, and you later develop new symptom, you still need to follow all the advice about self-isolation and household isolation again.
Is my pet at risk from coronavirus?
There is emerging evidence some animals can become infected with coronavirus after close contact with infected humans.
Only a small number of infections have been reported globally. The majority had contact with infected households or people. There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in livestock in the UK, and infections in pets are very rare.
It's always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets and other animals. This can help to protect you and your pet against common infections that can pass between animals and humans.
Follow the Scottish Government’s advice for pet owners to make sure you are following advice on reducing contact with other people.
I am a carer, what will happen if I need to isolate?
If you’re a carer and need to isolate because you or someone you live with is unwell or you've been identified as a close contact, you should discuss the needs of the person you care for with your 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 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.
I provide personal care. How do I access personal protective equipment (PPE)?
If you’re an unpaid carer who can’t access PPE for your care role through your normal routes, phone your local authority or local carers’ centre to find out how to access it locally.
Care Information Scotland has a list of local carers’ centres and young carer services. If your local carers’ centre is unavailable, phone the Social Care PPE Support Centre (0300 303 3020).
The Scottish Government has published guidance for unpaid carers providing personal care and information for social care providers, personal assistants, and unpaid/family carers on how to access personal protective equipment (PPE).
If you’re a personal assistant who can’t access PPE for your care role through normal routes, phone the Social Care PPE Support Centre (0300 303 3020) to find out how to access it locally.
The Scottish Government has published guidance on self-directed support options 1 and 2 for local authority and Health and Social Care Partnership staff for use during the coronavirus.
What effect does coronavirus 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 physical 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 coronavirus than the general population.
We have more detailed coronavirus guidance for people who are pregnant
I have a condition or take medicines that affects my immune system. Do I need to take any special precautions?
People with weakened immune systems can show different signs of coronavirus infection. Speak to your hospital care team or GP if you’re concerned about any new symptoms.
You should also carefully follow our physical distancing advice, depending on the nature of your immune disorder.
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 face mask or covering help to prevent the virus spreading?
Face masks are important in clinical settings, such as hospitals.
People must by law wear a face covering:
- in all shops and supermarkets
- on public transport
- in public transport premises such as railway and bus stations and airports (This applies to open air train stations but not to bus stops)
- in libraries
- in museums
- in banks/post offices
- in places of worship
If a face shield is worn, another face covering must be worn underneath.
Face masks and coverings must not be used as an alternative to physical distancing, hand washing, respiratory hygiene and household isolation if someone in your household has symptoms. These are the most important and effective measures to prevent the virus spreading.
The Scottish Government has produced guidance on the personal use of face coverings during the coronavirus outbreak.
Can I return unused medicines?
You can now return unused medicines to your community pharmacy for disposal. However, you cannot return essential medicines if you:
- have or have had coronavirus symptoms (or a positive test result) and are still within your 10 days self-isolation period
- are self-isolating for 14 days as someone you live with has or has had symptoms
- have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive
If you or others in your household have symptoms you need to stay at home and follow our guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.
When returning medication:
- wipe the outside of the bottle or packaging with a damp cloth using your usual detergent
- place in a plastic bag
- separate any medicines with needles or controlled drugs from other medicines
- wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser after handling
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.
What is the current advice for returning to school?
The National Parent Forum of Scotland has issued information on returning to school.
What is the current advice for arranging and attending funerals?
The Scottish Government has issued guidance on funerals which outlines the current restrictions.
Learn more about what to do after a death during the coronavirus pandemic