Living with Covid
Last updated: Monday 17 October 2022
As we learn to live safely with Covid-19, there are things we can all do to help reduce the risk of catching the virus and passing it on to others.
These actions will also help to reduce the spread of other respiratory infections, such as flu, which can spread easily and may cause serious illness in some people. You are encouraged to get fully vaccinated and continue to follow safe behaviours, such as wearing a mask, opening a window, and staying at home if you feel unwell.
Vaccines are the best defence we have against Covid-19. Find out more about getting vaccinated.
Guidance on testing
Most people in England are no longer advised to get tested. There are a small number of people who will still be able to get free Covid-19 tests from the NHS. Find out more about testing.
How to stay safe and prevent the spread
Even if you are fully vaccinated it is still possible to catch and spread Covid-19. The pandemic is not over and we should still stay cautious to help protect ourselves and others.
We should continue to:
- If you haven't already, get vaccinated
- Let fresh air in if meeting indoors, or meet outside
- Consider wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces
- Keep washing hands regularly and thoroughly
- Cover your coughs and sneezes, and follow the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ advice
Although we can now live safely with Covid-19, there is still some additional guidance in place in care homes. This is because many of the people who live in them are especially vulnerable to Covid-19 and other illnesses, due to age or underlying health conditions, and infections can spread quickly in communal places.
- Covid-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care - GOV.UK
- Covid-19 testing in adult social care - GOV.UK
Getting your Covid-19 vaccination if you’re eligible is one of the best ways to keep you and those around you safe, but not everyone is eligible for the autumn booster and the immunity the vaccination gives you starts to wane (reduce) after a few months.
This means there are some other simple things you should do to keep your loved ones and other residents safe when visiting care homes, whether you’re vaccinated or not:
- Wearing a face mask while visiting, particularly when moving through the home
Practicing good hand hygiene (washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds)
- Taking a lateral flow test before you visit if you can. You’re not required to do this, but some care homes are still offering tests to visitors, or you can buy them from high street pharmacies or supermarkets
- Meeting your loved ones outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. In colder weather, consider opening windows for 5 – 10 minutes every hour to let fresh air in
- Keeping your distance from other people in the care home
- Not visiting if you feel unwell. Even if you test negative for Covid-19, you could still have another illness such as flu or norovirus, which can also be very dangerous to residents. Avoid entering the care home until at least five days after you feel better
- Looking out for potential symptoms of Covid-19 in your loved ones, including:
- High temperature, fever or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained tiredness or lack of energy
- Not wanting to eat
- Muscle aches or pains
- Sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
- Diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick
- In people who are older, frail, or have conditions such as dementia, look out for falls, confusion, distress, or simply ‘not being themselves’.
These steps are especially important during the autumn and winter, when illnesses are more common in the community. They can also help to protect staff in care homes from falling ill and not being able to care for your loved ones, and our NHS services from becoming overwhelmed, which can lead to appointments and operations being cancelled.