You have probably heard the terms “self-isolation” or “self-quarantine” quite a lot lately. While treatment for Coronavirus (COVID-19) has not officially been found yet, it is absolutely essential to prevent the disease from spreading. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include cough, high temperature, and shortness of breath.
Universities in the UK have already started to apply precautionary actions to avoid the spread of the disease. Since coronavirus (Covid-19) can be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets (when coughing or sneezing), avoiding crowded places is essential. Thus, classes in the UK have been halted or moved online.
For those who have symptoms of coronavirus, have been in contact with people who have the disease, or have recently travelled from places where the disease is spread, self-isolation is a must. Below, you will find a self-isolation guide for students in the UK.
What Does Self-Isolation Mean?
People who might be infected with coronavirus (Covid-19), must self-isolate and avoid contact with other people as much as possible as a way to avoid spreading the disease (in this case, Covid-19). If someone shows coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms, that person and anyone living with the person should stay at home/self-isolate for at least 14 days (more on this, and self-isolation, below).
When Should I Self-Isolate?
It is necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus, so make sure you self-isolate, if the following apply to you.
You must self-isolate if you have coronavirus symptoms, including:
- A high temperature (if your chest and back feel hot to touch).
- A continuous cough.
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing.
You must self-isolate if you do not have coronavirus symptoms, but:
- You have symptoms similar to a cold or seasonal flu.
- You are advised to self-isolate by your GP practice.
- You have recently returned from a high-risk country/area where there is a spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
- You have recently returned from a high-risk country/area where there is a spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) and you have symptoms.
How Long Should I Stay at Home (Self-Isolate)?
If you have symptoms, you must stay at home for at least 7 days.
If other people live with you, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day you (or someone within the household) got symptoms.
Keep in mind: If you live with someone who is of old age (typically 70 or over), has a long-term condition, is pregnant, or has a weakened immune system, avoid them at all costs and make sure they have somewhere else to stay for at least 14 days. If this is not possible, then make sure you keep your distance and avoid physical contact (such as handshakes).
After the 14 day period passes:
- Those who have not shown symptoms can return to their daily routines.
- Those who have shown symptoms, during the 14 day period, should stay at home for an additional 7 days from the day they start showing symptoms.
If you live with other people (family members or roommates) make sure to avoid close contact.
How Should I Self-Isolate?
As mentioned, staying at home as a means of stopping the virus from spreading is essential. A few self-isolation tips we could give you include the following:
- Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, or hospital.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap for about 20-30 seconds.
- Stay at least 2 metres away from other people within your house/flat/room.
- Stay at least 2 metres away especially from the elderly or those with long-term health problems.
- Ask family/friends to bring you food or medicine and drop them off for you.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water or other fluids.
- Do not leave the house until you get better (at least 7 days).
- Make sure not to have visitors during your self-isolation days.
- Keep online contact with friends and family.
- You can use over-the-counter medications like paracetamol to help with the symptoms. But use them according to the instructions and do not exceed the recommended dose.
If you are an international student, you may phone the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), and speak to the Student Advice Line on +442077889214 (1-4 pm UK time, Monday-Friday), for any student-related issues you might have as a result of coronavirus.
Alternatively, you may phone/contact your institution’s wellbeing support services.
Take Care of Your Mental Wellbeing
Taking care of your mental wellbeing is also absolutely necessary during the days in self-isolation. Apart from focusing on your physical health, also make sure you take time to speak to friends or family online or through the phone, do things that make you happy such as watching movies, listening to music, online learning, or reading. Simply keep yourself busy.
When Should I Ask for Medical Help?
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- You feel like you cannot cope with the symptoms at home.
- Your symptoms worsen.
- Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days.
In case you cannot use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service, call NHS 111.
For a medical emergency call 999.
Which Are the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Safety Measures?
The coronavirus safety measures are as follows:
- Washing your hands regularly and frequently, for at least 20-30 seconds with soap.
- Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands.
- Disinfecting/cleaning objects that are used frequently.
- Keeping your distance (at least 2 meters) from other people, especially if they show flu-like symptoms.
- Avoiding crowded places, where there are too many people close to one another.
You can find more information for international students regarding coronavirus (Covid-19) in our article here.
Will I Be Able to Attend Classes Online?
If your condition is mild, you might be able to attend your classes online, if your university has started with online classes. Studying-in-UK reports show that some UK universities have already started with online classes, and some universities have halted them altogether.
Universities are continuously working to ensure they have the right measures to facilitate digital studies and proceed as per usual (but online). They are also thinking about alternative methods of assessment, which do not include face-to-face interaction. These precautions will allow students and staff to work/study from home during the period of self-isolation.