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Coronavirus and your family

You’re not alone if you’re worried about coronavirus (COVID-19). Here at Parent Club we’ve put together some information on how to protect yourself, your family and others.

You can find the latest updates on the NHS Inform website

How can I protect myself and other people?

Anyone can spread coronavirus. To save lives, you still need to stay at home as much as you can.

This means that you should only be leaving your home for the following reasons:

  • for important errands, for example, to buy food, for childhood vaccinations, to attend urgent medical appointments or collect prescriptions or to care for a vulnerable person. 
  • for exercise.
  • You can now also leave your home to meet up with one other household, outdoors, as long as there are no more than 8 people in your group and you maintain physical distancing and good hygiene. 
  • You can also go outside to do other leisure activities in your local area like sunbathing, sitting in the park, outdoor learning or having a picnic You can now travel short distances in your local area to exercise or do leisure activities, although still avoid public transport if you possibly can.

You can find out more about this on our page about changes to restrictions to outdoor activities

If you do leave your home, avoid public transport if possible and stay at least 2 metres away from other people - that's slightly more than the width of a car. This will mean you will be less likely to catch or spread the virus when you are out and about. If you or anyone in your household has any symptoms, you must not leave your home.

If we all follow these rules, however difficult, then fewer people will die of this virus than would otherwise be the case.

What else can I do to stay safe?

It is also important that you:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day
  • Catch your cough or sneeze in tissue, bin it, then wash your hands

However hard we try to stop them, kids always end up sticking their fingers in their mouths and up their noses. Each time they do this, try to get them to wash their hands and wipe down any surfaces. 

If you're out of the house, try and keep their hands away from their faces as best as you can. It might help to get them to wear gloves, as they’re less likely to put their fingers in their mouths. 

While we can’t expect you to give up on cuddles, you can have fun coming up with new ways of showing love other than kisses and cuddles - how about rubbing elbows or a wee dance? Get them to make up their own secret family greetings which they can teach you.

It’s not just kids who can transfer germs! There are things parents need to stop doing as well:

  • Sharing food – it’s probably not a great idea to eat up leftovers from their plates. Any food you would normally share from a bag, like popcorn, put in separate bowls.
  • Sucking a child’s dummy to clean it – you’ll need to clean it properly (and make sure you have spares).
  • Spitting on a tissue to clean your child’s face (we’ve all done it!)

Can I be tested for coronavirus?

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should book a test online on the NHS Inform website. If you can’t book online, you can call 0800 028 2816. Anyone over the age of 5 who has symptoms can be tested. Children under 5 are currently not being tested because it involves taking a sample from the nose or the back of the throat, and this process is not effective with small children, and may be stressful for a young child. 

If the test is negative, everyone in the household will be able to stop isolating. Until then, however, you must stay at home.

If the test is positive, you must isolate yourself for 7 days and everyone in your household must isolate for 14 days. If you still have a fever after 7 days, you should isolate for 48 hours after the time the fever goes down.

You will also be put in touch with the local contact tracing team so that other close contacts can be identified. These close contacts, as well as everyone in your household, will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The test and trace process is confidential, and your close contacts will  not be told that it was you that they were in contact with. 

It’s important that everyone remains in self-isolation for the full length of time they’re asked to. 

What if I've been in close contact with someone with symptoms?

If the local contact tracing team gets in touch with you because you have been in close contact with someone with coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days. This is because if you have the virus, it may take up to 14 days for it to develop into an illness.

A close contact is someone you’ve had direct contact with at a distance of less than one metre, or have had contact with for longer than 15 minute within 2 metres.

If you have been identified by NHS contact tracers as having been in close contact with a person with coronavirus, you will not be told who it is you have been in contact with.

If you develop coronavirus symptoms, you must isolate yourself for 7 days and get tested.

If you do not have symptoms yourself and are self-isolating as a close contact of someone with coronavirus, other people in your own household will not be asked to isolate along with you – unless they have also been in close contact with a person who is a confirmed case, in which case they will be informed by the NHS. 

You can find out more about contact tracing and self-isolation on the NHS Inform website.

Can I go outside if I have symptoms?

No. If you or anyone else in your household develops symptoms of coronavirus such as a high temperature or a new and continuous cough or a loss of/change in smell or taste, that person must stay at home for 7 days. In addition, everyone else in the household must stay at home for 14 days. If you need something ask someone out with your household to get it for you or have it delivered and left at your front door.

You can leave the house after 7 days if you're improving and you no longer have a temperature. If you still have a temperature, you shouldn’t leave the house until 48 hours after it has gone down. It's okay to leave the house after 7 days, even if you still have a cough.

If a household member develops coronavirus symptoms late in the 14-day household-isolation period (for example, on day 13 or day 14) the household isolation period does not need to be extended, but the person with the new symptoms has to stay at home for 7 days.

You can find all the information about what you need to do in the NHS Inform website here


Can I meet up with other people?

You can now meet with people from one other household a day outdoors, as long as you stay two metres apart and there are no more than 8 of you. You should not meet indoors at this stage. You can find out more about this on our page about changes to outdoor restrictions

What activities can I leave the house to do?

  • You can go outside to do leisure activities in your local area like sunbathing, sitting in the park, outdoor learning or having a picnic – in other words, you no longer need to be exercising or running an essential errand to be out of the house!
  • You can now travel short distances in your local area to exercise or do leisure activities, although avoid public transport if you possibly can.
  • You can now go to a garden centre, although cafes will be closed.
  • You can do non-contact activities in your local area such as angling, archery, athletics (running and jogging), croquet, cycling, riding, golf, walking, water sports, lawn bowls and outdoor tennis.

Should we be wearing face coverings when we go out?

Staying 2 metres away from other people, covering any coughs and sneezes and frequent hand washing are the best precautions against coronavirus. However, because you may have coronavirus without knowing it, wearing a face mask will help prevent you passing it on to anyone else. If you have coronavirus symptoms, you must of course stay at home.

It’s therefore a good idea to wear a face covering in situations when you need to be indoors and it’s difficult to always stay 2 metres away from other people, for example, in a shop. If you are travelling by public transport, you should always wear a face covering.

Face coverings should cover the nose and mouth and can be made from any material you can breathe through. For example, you could use a scarf. You can find out how to make your own face covering here – with or without sewing!

Children under the age of 2 shouldn’t wear face coverings. Nor should anyone else who might find it hard to wear one, for example, people with respiratory conditions. If you want your child (who is two or older) to wear one, make sure you help them put it on and take it off properly.

When you’re wearing a face covering:

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on, and try not to touch your face.
  • When you take it off, try not to touch the part you’ve been breathing on.
  • Keep the face covering in a plastic bag until you can wash it, then wash it at 60 degrees centigrade. It can go in the wash with other laundry.

You can read more about the use of face coverings here.

How can I cope with spending so much time at home?

Even with some restrictions lifting, spending more time at home than you’re used to may still be difficult, but it’s vital that we all do it to save lives. To make it a little bit easier, we’ve put together some tips for keeping the kids busy, working from home and how to stay active as a family. We’ve also got lots of tips on how to keep calm if tempers start to fray.

How do I stay in contact with friends and family?

Even though you can now see some family and friends who live near you, you may still be missing people who live further away. Keep in touch with friends and family on the phone or by video chat or even try sending cards, letters or pictures your wee one has drawn for them. It’s particularly important to check in regularly with older people and people who are more at risk of getting ill from the virus. If you’re not sure how to set up a video call, there’s a useful guide from the BBC here.

What if I don't feel safe at home?

If you don’t feel safe at home and are afraid someone may harm you, you can get help from the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234. You can find more advice on staying safe at home during the coronavirus outbreak on the website.

These organisations can also offer help and support:

Abused Men in Scotland – 0808 800 0024
National helpline to support abused men.

Rape Crisis Scotland – 08088 01 03 02
Support for anyone affected by sexual violence.

LGBT Youth Scotland – 0300 999 5428
Help for LGBT  people experiencing abuse.

Support for victims of domestic abuse who identify as male or from the LGBT+ community.

Karma Nirvana – 0800 599 9247
Support for victims of domestic abuse, forced marriage and honour based abuse.

Hemat Gryffe – 0141 353 0859
Support for Asian, black and minority ethnic women.

Shakti Women’s Aid – 0131 475 2399
Help for black minority ethnic women.

I’m pregnant – what should I do?

We realise this is a worrying time to be pregnant. You can find further advice on our page about pregnancy and coronavirus and on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website.

What do I do about my child’s immunisations?

It’s still important to get your child’s immunisations as planned. Find out more on our page on immunisations, and visit NHS Inform for more information.

What if my partner or ex-partner and I both look after our children but live in separate homes?

If you and your partner live in separate homes but take turns to look after your children, you can continue to do this. Our page on shared parenting has more information.

Looking after yourself

These are all dramatic changes that we’re having to make. But it’s important to follow these guidelines so you can help protect your family’s health and the health of your community.

We have some useful advice on looking after you and your child’s mental health during this time:

You can also find advice on the Mind website about coronavirus and your wellbeing.


Information in BSL

You can find information on coronavirus in British Sign Language (BSL) on the Parentzone Scotland website.