Coronavirus: Health advice you can trust

Illustration shows a young woman sitting on her laptop. The text bubbles read: "How to protect yourself and others" and "What to do if you're sick"

In this archived content, The Mix looks at some of the advice that circulated at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Since the article was written, our knowledge of coronavirus has evolved. For the most up to date information, head over to our coronavirus hub here.

The health crisis caused by coronavirus has escalated a lot in the past few days and we know this can be very worrying. With schools and workplaces closing and lots of people being told to stay at home, the rapid changes to normal life can leave you feeling confused, disorientated and anxious.

We want you to know that we’re still here and we will be providing up-to-date and trustworthy information and advice as often as we can. We will be covering a whole range of issues linked to coronavirus and its impact, but we are starting with the latest health advice. Here’s our guide to how to protect yourself and others, and what to do if you should become ill.

What’s the best way to protect myself from getting ill?

Wash your hands

Sounds simple? It is! Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub, or wash them with hot water and soap. Make sure you do this regularly and be nice and thorough. This will kill any viruses that might be on your hands.

Social distancing (but this isn’t as bad as it sounds!)

You may be confused about what this means and we’re here to clear things up. The government use this expression to encourage people to stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of the virus. This means avoiding crowds, large groups and staying away from places like pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t be in contact with your friends and family. We live in an age where we’re more connected than ever through technology and this means you can call and FaceTime people every day and see them as often as you like through digital platforms. Make sure you stay in touch with loved ones as much as you can, as this is really important for your mental health.

The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s advice is that you should stay at least one metre away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. This is to avoid breathing in the droplets that come from their nose or mouth that might contain the virus.

Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes

Because your hands touch so many surfaces, they can pick up viruses. Viruses can enter your body via your mouth, nose and eyes, which means that you should avoid touching them as much as possible.

Cover your nose or mouth if you sneeze or cough 

Make sure you, and the people around you cover mouths and noses with a tissue (or a bent elbow) when you cough or sneeze. If you use a tissue, you should throw this away afterwards. This will protect you and the people around you too.

Stay informed

Keep yourself up to date by reading trusted news sources and follow the healthcare advice given by the government, the NHS and WHO. The Mix will update you as often as we can with any changes in advice.

Useful resources

Here is some trustworthy and up to date information from reliable sources:

NHS health advice:

Government advice on social distancing:

WHO health advice:

WHO travel advice:

What should I do if I think I’ve got Coronavirus?

You should stay at home if you start to feel unwell, even if your symptoms are only mild.

You should also stay at home if you start to develop symptoms of coronavirus:

  • If you have a high temperature – this means that your chest or your back feels hot to touch (you don’t need to measure your temperature).
  • If you have a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in a space of 24 hours.

How do I access help?

  • You shouldn’t go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital as this could spread the virus more quickly and make other people ill.
  • You can use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
  • If you can’t find the help you need online then you can call 111 to speak to a healthcare advisor.

How long should I stay at home?

  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you should stay at home for a week.
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person in the home started having symptoms.
  • If you live with someone who has a long-term health condition, is 70 or over, has a weakened immune system, or is pregnant, you should try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
  • If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

I still feel anxious about coronavirus

It’s natural and understandable to feel worried about being ill, or the impact that the health crisis might have on your life. Please know that if you are anxious and need to talk, you are not alone and we’re here for you. The Mix are open and our team of experts and trained volunteers are ready to listen and to talk about everything and anything.

If you want to talk to people who are going through the same thing you are, or if you simply want a break from all this, head to our discussion boards and you will find a coronavirus sub-forum, as well as plenty of other forums, where you can find silly escapism or talk about anything that’s on your mind.

Read our articles on understanding anxiety  and managing anxiety. You can also find out more about OCD here.

If you’re under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out, complete this form and we’ll call you to arrange your first session.

Next Steps

  • AnxietyUK run helplines, email support, live chats and therapy services for people with anxiety disorders. 08444 775 774
  • OCD Action run an online community where you can chat to other people with OCD as well as a phone line 0845 390 6232.
  • Mind offers advice and support to people with mental health problems. Their helpline runs nine to six from Monday to Friday. 0300 123 3393
  • Visit bemindful for more information on mindfulness and to search for a course near you.
  • If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 22-Sep-2022