Coping with COVID-19

If you have COVID-19, it’s important to know how to look after yourself to support your recovery

If you have COVID-19, it’s important to know how to look after yourself to support your recovery

General help and support while you are at home

If you have COVID-19 and live alone, ask a friend, relative or neighbour to check in on you regularly.

A one-stop-shop for local help and support

If you are struggling to pay for necessities like food and fuel because of the impact of COVID-19, you can use this directory to find sources of local support available in your area.

NHS Volunteer Responders
Practical help and support is available from NHS Volunteer Responders for people who are self-isolating – find out if you are eligible and how to get in touch or call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm every day).

General home hygiene

Try to keep 2 metres distance where possible from anyone else in the household

  • Wear a face covering
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds – especially before using the kitchen or bathroom
  • Use your own bathroom if you can
  • Avoid sharing personal items like towels, bedding, clothes and kitchen items
  • Let in fresh air wherever possible
  • Increase cleaning around the home –especially high-touch surfaces like banisters, light switches, door handles and tabletops and counters. Use household disinfectant spray or wipes.

If you’re cleaning up after someone with COVID-19, wear a face covering and disposable gloves and dispose of them in a lined rubbish bin afterwards. Wash your hands thoroughly.

Treating symptoms at home

Guidance on how to look after yourself is available on the NHS website.

High temperature (usually 38C or above)

  • Get lots of rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated (water is best)
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable – always follow the instructions on the medicine


  • Try to lie on your side or sit upright
  • Cough into your elbow or a tissue to minimise the spread of droplets. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth until you have washed your hands thoroughly
  • Call a pharmacist for advice about cough treatments. Don’t go out to a pharmacy or chemist: you and the people you live with must follow self-isolation guidance and stay at home.


  • It can help to keep the room cool and let in fresh air. Open a window but do not use a fan as this can spread the virus
  • Try to breathe through your nose and out through your mouth, like blowing out a candle
  • Try sitting upright; lean forward slightly by placing your hands on your knees or something stable like a chair
  • Try relaxing your shoulders
  • Try not to panic as this can make it worse

Using a pulse oximeter

If you have a pulse oximeter at home, this can help monitor your condition and the level of oxygen in your blood. Check the NHS website for more information about pulse oximeters and their use, and when you should seek medical help.
If symptoms get worse

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if your symptoms get worse.

Contact the NHS if:
  • you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • you are breathless and it is getting worse
  • your symptoms get worse and you are not sure what to do
When to seek urgent medical advice

Go to, call 111 or call your GP surgery if:

  • you're feeling gradually more unwell or more breathless
  • you have difficulty breathing when you stand up or move around
  • you feel very weak, achy or tired
  • you're shaking or shivering
  • you've lost your appetite
  • you're unable to care for yourself – for example, tasks like washing and dressing or making food are too difficult
  • you still feel unwell after 4 weeks – this may be Long COVID

Go to A&E immediately or call 999 if:

  • you're so breathless that you're unable to say short sentences when resting
  • your breathing has got suddenly worse
  • you cough up blood
  • you feel cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin
  • you have a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin and does not fade when you roll a glass over it
  • you collapse or faint
  • you feel agitated, confused or very drowsy
  • you've stopped peeing or are peeing much less than usual

Babies and children

  • call 111 if you’re worried about a baby or child
  • call 999 if they seem very unwell, are getting worse, or you think there's something seriously wrong
Find out more about coronavirus in children on the NHS website
Mental health

The NHS Every Mind Matters campaign includes advice and support for looking after your mental health if you are staying at home because of coronavirus.

Support for schools, children & young people

The County Council’s Educational Psychology Team provides expertise, training and support to schools to enable them to help pupils to maintain good mental health and well-being. Parents, carers, teachers and other professionals working with children can call the Team for advice on:
  • Basingstoke & North Test Valley – 01252 814835
  • Fareham, Gosport & Havant – 02392 441497
  • East Hants, Hart & Rushmoor – 01252 814729
  • Winchester, Eastleigh, New Forest & South Test Valley – 01962 876239

Other resources

Long Covid

Some people who have tested positive for COVID-19 go on to experience ‘Long COVID’, which means they are unable to shake off the effects of the virus months after initially falling ill.

Symptoms can be wide-ranging and fluctuating, including breathlessness, chronic fatigue, ‘brain fog’, anxiety and stress.

The NHS has established nationwide sites to help combat Long COVID.

The service offers:

  • Physical, functional, cognitive and psychological assessments to improve health outcomes and quality of life
  • Support to access post-COVID syndrome services
  • Face-to-face, virtual or clinical app-based interventions
  • Once assessed, a health professional will work with the local multiple disciplinary team to develop an appropriate management plan based on individual need

Contact your GP if you think you have Long COVID. They can refer you to the NHS Long COVID service.

Further advice and guidance on coronavirus recovery is available on the NHS website.