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Staying safe during coronavirus

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 health information on the NHS Inform website and the latest updates on restrictions on the gov.scot website.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The most common symptoms are:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a fever or high temperature (37.8C or greater)
  • loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia).

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual.

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back (you don’t need to measure your temperature). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.

How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

Anyone can spread coronavirus. To save lives, here are some important things to remember:

  • wear a face covering on public transport and in shops and other places where distancing is difficult
  • avoid crowded places
  • clean hands and surfaces regularly (see ‘How do I ensure everything stays clean and hygienic?’ below)
  • following physical distancing guidelines (see ‘What is physical distancing?’ below)
  • self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms. (see 'When do I need to self-isolate' and ‘How do I get a coronavirus test?’ below)
  • get the COVID-19 vaccine when you're offered it (see 'Getting the coronavirus vaccine' below)
  • take a test at home twice a week (see 'Can I get a test if I don’t have any symptoms?' below).

In addition you should also download the Protect Scotland app. This free app from NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect is designed to help us protect each other and further reduce the spread of coronavirus. You can find out more about the Protect Scotland app here.

How can I keep everything clean and hygienic during coronavirus?

It’s important to:

  • wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day. This is particularly important when you get home or into work, when you blow your nose or cough, and when you eat or handle food. Although don't use alcohol-based hand sanitiser on babies under 1 year old.
  • catch your cough or sneeze in tissue, bin it, then wash your hands.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in your home.
  • avoid touching surfaces when you're out and about.

We all know we need to wash our hands for at least 20 seconds, but how long is that? Soap-A-Sheep is a fun online game you can play with your kids to help you realise 20 seconds is longer than you think!

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.

What is physical distancing?

When you’re out and about, it’s important to follow physical distancing and hygiene guidelines, to help prevent the virus spreading. Physical or social distancing means you should stay 1 metre away from anyone who isn’t part of your household or extended household (if you have one). You can find out more about physical distancing at the NHS Inform website.

There are some exceptions:

Children under 12 don’t need to physically distance. Our page on coronavirus guidelines for children has more information. 

Level 0

In level 0, if you’re meeting friends or family outdoors or in a private garden or home, you don’t need to physically distance from the people in your group. If you’re meeting indoors in a public place, you only need to stay one metre apart instead of two metres. However, you should still be very careful, especially with friends or family members who are on the shielding list. Remember that close contact increases the chance of catching or passing on COVID-19, so try to limit the number of people you have close contact with.

Levels 1-2

In level 1-2, if you’re meeting friends or family in a private garden or home, you no longer need to maintain physical distancing. However, you should still be very careful, especially with friends or family members who are on the shielding list. Remember that close contact increases the chance of catching or passing on COVID-19, so try to limit the number of people you have close contact with.

When you’re out and about in indoor or outdoor public spaces, it’s really important to still maintain physical distancing.

Levels 3-4

In levels 3 and 4, you must maintain physical distancing from anyone aged 12 and over who isn’t part of your household or extended household.

What is Test and Protect?

Test and Protect is Scotland's approach to preventing the spread of coronavirus in the community.
It will prevent the spread of coronavirus in the community by:

  • identifying cases of coronavirus through testing
  • tracing the people who may have become infected by spending time in close contact with them
  • supporting those close contacts to self-isolate, so that if they have the virus they are less likely transmit it to others.

You can find out more about Test and Protect here.

When do I need to self-isolate?

You should isolate if ANY of the following apply to you:

  • You or anyone in your household has any of the symptoms of coronavirus. Everyone in the household should isolate until the symptomatic person/people has been tested and has received the results.
  • You or anyone in your household has tested positive for coronavirus. The person with symptoms should continue to isolate for 10 days. Everyone else in the household should also isolate for 10 days and book a test.
  • You are contacted by Test and Protect. If you are contacted by Test and Protect as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, you should isolate for 10 days (unless you are exempt – you can find out more about this on the gov.scot website). You’ll also be asked to book a test, even if you don’t have any symptoms (see 'What if I've been in close contact with someone with symptoms?' below).

If you’re self-isolating, you shouldn’t leave your home at all. You can find out more about what to do when you’re self-isolating on the NHS Inform website.

If you’ve been told to self-isolate by Test and Protect, you may be eligible for a Self-Isolation Support Grant

If you're travelling from outside of the Common Travel Area, and you do not qualify under an exemption, you are required to quarantine in managed isolation for 10 days on arrival in Scotland. You can find out more on the Scottish Government website.

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

Can I get help if I have to self-isolate?

Support is available to help you to self-isolate. You can either phone the National Coronavirus Helpline on 0800 111 4000 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, or visit the NHS Inform website to find out more. 

If you’ve been told to self-isolate by Test and Protect, you may be eligible for a Self-Isolation Support Grant. On 7 December the rules for claiming this grant changed so that:

  • you can now claim if you are unable to work because one of your children has to self-isolate from school or nursery
  • you can now claim even if you don’t receive universal credit, but your local authority believes you would receive it if you applied for it.

You can find out more about financial support during COVID-19 here.

What should I do if I or someone else in my household develops coronavirus symptoms?

If you or anyone else in your household and extended household (if you have one) develops symptoms of coronavirus, that person must stay at home for 10 days, except to get tested (see ‘How do I get a coronavirus test?’ below). In addition, everyone else in the household must stay at home for 10 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 10 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 10 days, even if you still have a cough.

If a household member develops coronavirus symptoms late in the 10-day household-isolation period (for example, on day 9 or 10) the household isolation period does not need to be extended. But the person with the new symptoms has to stay at home for 10 days.

How do I get a coronavirus test?

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 who has symptoms can be tested, including children. These tests can be completed through any of the existing testing routes including drive-in Regional Testing Centres, Mobile Testing Units and by ordering a home test kit. Our page on COVID-19 testing for children as more information.

Until you get the results of the test back, everyone in your household and extended household (if you have one) must isolate themselves. 

  • If the test is negative, everyone will be able to stop isolating. This is unless they have another reason to isolate. For example, if they have symptoms, have been identified as a close contact or are quarantining after travelling abroad. See ‘When do I need to self-isolate?’ above). Until then, however, you must all stay at home.
  • If the test is positive, you and everyone in your household and extended household (if you have one) must isolate for 10 days and book a test. If you still have a fever after 10 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 10 days. They'll also be asked to book a test, even if they don’t have any symptoms. Even if they test negative they'll still need to isolate for the full 10 days, in case they become infectious after the test. If they test positive, they'll need to isolate for a further 10 days from the date of your test.

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. 

Can I get a test if I don’t have any symptoms?

Yes. Everyone in Scotland now has access to free, fast, regular testing.

Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 don’t show symptoms, so can spread the virus to others without knowing. It’s worrying to think we could be passing the virus on to our friends and loved ones without even realising. Regular testing using lateral flow devices (LFDs) will help find positive cases in people who have no symptoms, but who are still infectious. If you test positive, you must then self-isolate so you don’t pass it on to anyone else and help break the chain of transmission.

As parents, you can get rapid lateral flow devices (LFDs) for twice-weekly testing, if:

  • you do not have COVID-19 symptoms
  • you live in Scotland
  • you have not been told to self-isolate.

You can view a video on NHS Inform which shows you how to take the test.

Please note that children and young people who are attending secondary school should continue to access LFD testing through their schools, as is currently the case. The universal testing offer does not replace the schools testing programme for people without symptoms. You can find out more about testing in schools here.

You can find out more about how and where to get LFD testing at the Scottish Government website.

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 10 days (unless you are exempt – you can find out more about this on the gov.scot website). You’ll also be asked to book a test, even if you don’t have any symptoms. This will help more cases to be identified, and slow the spread of the virus. Even if you test negative you will still need to isolate for the full 10 days, in case you become infectious after the test. If you test positive, you will need to isolate for a further 10 days from the date of your test.

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 a further 10 days and get tested again.

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 and extended household (if you have one) will not be asked to isolate along with you. This is 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.

Are people still being advised to shield?

At the beginning of the pandemic, people who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus were advised to shield. This was to minimise the chance of catching the virus. Shielding was paused from 1 August. However, the Scottish Government is advising people who were shielding to take extra precautions. You can find out more about this at the Scottish Government website.

Getting the coronavirus vaccine

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is your best protection against coronavirus. So to keep yourself, your family and your community safe, NHS Scotland recommends that you get both doses of the vaccine when you’re offered it. You can find out more about the vaccine on the NHS Inform website.

Watch this video for some useful facts about the vaccine.

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

It’s up to all of us to stop coronavirus spreading. Adapting to changing restrictions is difficult, and we know it can be especially hard for parents and their families. But the evidence suggests we have an important role to play in controlling the virus. The more people we see the more chance we have of catching or spreading the virus. So to slow it down we need to limit the contact we have with other people.

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, as well as to help ensure that schools and nurseries can stay open. To make it a little bit easier, we’ve put together some tips for: 

How can I look after my family's mental health at this time?

This year has been tough, so it’s all the more important to look after your family’s mental health at this difficult time. Whatever your situation, we have some useful advice here:

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

 

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 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.

The media is reporting that coronavirus may have a disproportionate impact on people from Minority Ethnic communities. Is this true, and what do I need to do?

There is some emerging evidence, largely from England and the US, that coronavirus may have an increased impact on these communities. If you or anyone in your family becomes unwell, you should seek medical advice by phoning NHS 111.

Information in BSL

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