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Advice from the experts: Self-isolation and social distancing


27 March 2020

During these extraordinary times, we want to make sure our patients have the most up-to-date information and guidance on self-isolation and social distancing.

The latest government guidance is for everyone to stay at home to avoid unessential contact with others, as a reduction in social interaction will help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) between people. It is important that you stay as up to date as possible with government measures, so please check in regularly with their website here or with NHS.UK Coronavirus information.

Everyone, including those over the age of 70 and non-essential workers, are now being advised to follow these measures, regardless of whether or not they have a medical condition.

Self-isolation is, basically, staying at home and avoiding interaction with people. We are all currently being asked by the government to self-isolate as much as possible, and practice social distancing when going outside. To do this, you should:

  • Stay at home and follow the rules outlined by the government - only go outside for food, health reasons or work. Only people who are considered essential workers and are not in any high-risk groups should go to work, and only if they cannot work from home.
  • Avoid contact with anyone outside your household. Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people, whether or not they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus (such as a high temperature or coughing). Don't visit friends or extended family.
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home.
  • Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, social media and video chat, where possible, including when contacting your GP or other health services.

If you believe you or a member of your household has Coronavirus, you should follow the specific government advice here as there are measures you can take while staying at home together, to help reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community. It is still important to wash your hands regularly, for 20 seconds, even when in self-isolation.

Digital services are available and are a great way to continue interaction with family and friends, as well as receiving household essentials through online grocery shopping. For those with a health condition, Pharmacy2U is an easy to use way of getting your medication delivered, without leaving home. People can find out more online here or download the Pharmacy2U app.

Apps not only help to keep pressure off the NHS in a time of high demand, but also allow patients to protect themselves and others from unnecessary risk.

Other digital health services available and approved by ORCHA (which review the safety and value of health services apps) include:

  • Ask NHS – Olivia is a virtual health assistant to which people can talk through their symptoms in complete confidence.
  • Wysa – an ’emotionally intelligent’ bot which acts as a virtual coach to help sustain mental health.
  • mymhealth – NHS approved apps for patients with Asthma, COPD, Diabetes and Heart Disease.

Visit the Pharmacy2U website for more information.

For up-to-date Covid-19 advice from Pharmacy2U, follow this link:

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.