This advice sheet summarise the various (and varying) situations in which you may find yourself in the coming weeks in your home and everyday lives, whether you are infected, self isolated, belong to a vulnerable group, or are trying to carry on with working in the community. For each group it gives general advice on how to comply with “social distancing” whilst also fulfilling family and work responsibilities and guidance on the hygiene measures which will best protect you from getting infected and from spreading their infection to other people.
A key part of UK Government advice to the public aimed at delaying the spread of COVID-19 infection is to “wash your hands frequently”. But there is some confusion as to what that means. The aim of this advice sheet is to help you understand what this means in practice – and how to ensure you don’t end up practicing excessive hand hygiene from which you will get limited benefit and may end up with skin irritation.
Germ Defence provides guidance on how to lower your risk of catching COVID-19 and other viral illnesses. It includes advice on handwashing, mask wearing, keeping a safe distance, not touching your face – and on looking after family and friends who are ill. This scientifically-tested digital intervention created by the University of Southampton has already proved to be effective at reducing spread of viral respiratory tract infections such as colds and flu, but is also applicable to coronavirus. During a randomised trial of more than 20,000 UK households Germ Defence proved it can help reduce the risk of infection by around 14%.
Use of facemasks and face coverings by the general public is controversial and advice on this varies across the world. As of 13th May, the UK Government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops. This fact/advice sheet givesadvice on where and when face masks/coverings should be worn, how to make a face covering, how to wear it and how to ensure that it does not became a vehicle for transmission of infection.
Over the last weeks, we have been listening to concerns, studying research papers and evaluating Government advice. Dr Lisa Ackerley has started a blog to address questions raised socially, in phone-ins on the radio, and questions being asked by the media The aim is to come up with simple suggestions and practical tips on specific issues not covered in the IFH advice where people are uncertain about what to do.