Coronavirus (COVID-19): NHS advice

NHS advice - the symptoms

The main symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature
  • new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal. 

Most people with Coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. If you think you or someone in your household has Coronavirus you can request a test via the NHS website.

For more advice about what you should do if you think you have Coronavirus or are worried about yourself or someone in your household, please use the online NHS 111 Coronavirus service to check your symptoms.

Please do not visit your GP surgery, the hospital or pharmacy.

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If you have the symptoms - getting tested

Anyone over the age of 5 years with symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) can now get a test. The symptoms are a new, continuous cough; high temperature; and a loss of or change in your normal sense of smell or taste. 

The test is only available to those who have the symptoms right now. A test to check to see if you have already had coronavirus is not yet available.

You can ask for a test for yourself or someone you live with. Make sure that the person you are requesting the test for - if they are over the age of 13 - is happy for you to ask for the test on their behalf. 

Tests can be done at home - using a home testing kit which will be sent to you - or by driving to a regional testing site. 

Find out more and ask for a test to check if you have coronavirus - on the NHS website.

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If you have the symptoms - information and advice

If you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) or the symptoms of Coronavirus infection (see the NHS self check website), you are advised to not leave your home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. This will help protect others in the community while you are infectious.  You can request a test on the NHS website to find out if you have Coronavirus. The test needs to be done within the first few days of developing the symptoms. 

  • Plan ahead and ask others for help so you can stay at home
  • Ask your employer, friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home
  • Stay at least 3 steps away from other people in your home if possible
  • Sleep alone, if possible
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible

Your household:

  • If you live with others and you or one of them have Coronavirus or symptoms of Coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period. They can request a test on the NHS website to find out if they have Coronavirus
  • If you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period, if you cannot, stay away from them as much as possible.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation:

  • If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online
  • Only call NHS 111 if you cannot get help online or have no internet access
  • Only call 999 for a medical emergency

For the latest advice from the NHS on what the symptoms are and how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus please see:

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Self-isolation guidance (stay at home)

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Hand washing

The short video below explains how to wash your hands properly:

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