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Coronavirus support

Health advice

The page contains health advice from the Government, the NHS and health organisations.

For the latest information about the virus and how you can look after your health, visit the NHS website.

To book a vaccination, or for more information about vaccines, visit this page.

We will regularly update this page with the latest information, so please use the dropdowns below for further advice.

  1. How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus


    • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds – see a short video showing the recommended hand washing technique
    • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
    • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
    • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
    • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
    • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


    • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

  2. The importance of wearing a mask and good ventilation

    A series of animated video based on reviews undertaken by Professor Trish Greenhalgh from the IRIHS team in collaboration with academic colleagues. These videos summarise about the importance of good ventilation and wearing a well fitting mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Importance of well fitting masks

    A quick ventilation guide

    Indoor ventilation

  3. Looking after your health and wellbeing

    To help yourself stay well while you're at home:

    • stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media
    • try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
    • do light exercise at home, or outside once a day

    For more advice, see:

  4. What to do if you need medical help

    If you need medical help for any reason, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

    If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.

    If you need help or advice not related to coronavirus:

    • for health information and advice, use the NHS website or your GP surgery website
    • for urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service – only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
    • for life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance

    Read more advice about getting medical help at home.

  5. Public Health England #QuitforCovid

    Emerging evidence from China has revealed that smokers with COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe respiratory disease.

    ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) and NHS Bristol North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are leading the #QuitforCovid campaign.

    It highlights that there are many health and financial benefits to quitting smoking, but now more than ever quitting means you can:

    • Reduce the likelihood of complications from COVID-19.
    • Protect the health of others. Exposure to second hand smoke also increases the risk of complications from respiratory infections.
    • Reduce the burden on the NHS. Stopping smoking brings immediate health benefits particularly to the heart and lungs.

    For further information, visit Today is the Day

    A Twitter account @QuitforCovid has also been set up to support people to stop smoking. Every day between 7.30 and 8.30 a quit clinic is hosted with a health expert to provide advice and support for people who’d like to quit.

  6. Advice for those at higher risk

    Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill. But some people are at a higher risk and need to take extra steps to avoid becoming unwell.

    People at increased risk

    You may be at increased risk from coronavirus if you:

    • are 70 or older
    • are pregnant
    • have a condition that may increase your risk from coronavirus

    People most at risk

    People most at risk from coronavirus are sometimes called "shielded" or "extremely vulnerable" people.

    This includes people who:

    • have had an organ transplant
    • are having certain types of cancer treatment
    • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
    • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
    • have a condition or are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections
    • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

    View NHS information and guidance for people at increased risk or most at risk

  7. Symptoms and what to do

    Do not leave your home if you have either:

    • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
    • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

    To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

    Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. 

  8. Self-isolation advice

    Self-isolation helps stop coronavirus from spreading. 

    Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

    If you are self-isolating, you must:

    • not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
    • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
    • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home

    You can use your garden, if you have one.

    If you are not sure if you need to self-isolate, use the 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do. 

    View further NHS guidance on self-isolation

  9. Support for those with dementia

    Living with dementia at any time brings everyday challenges for the person and those around them. Coronavirus is making daily life much harder. 

    South Somerset is working to become a Dementia Friendly Community and we're happy to provide links below to advice and practical tips for people living with dementia and those supporting them – either in the same household or from a distance.

    Alzheimer's Society

    You can access all of the Society's detailed advice here

    Access a toolkit offering guidance on how to support people with dementia in your community

    1. Coronavirus: Information for people affected by dementia
    2. Coronavirus: Supporting a person with dementia at home
    3. Coronavirus: Activity ideas for people living with dementia
    4. Coronavirus: Support for a person with dementia living alone
    5. Coronavirus: Supporting a person with dementia from a distance 
    6. Coronavirus: Supporting a person with dementia who falls ill
    7. Coronavirus: Supporting a person with dementia in hospital
    8. Coronavirus: Supporting a person with dementia in a care home
    9. Coronavirus: If a person with dementia in a care home falls ill
    10. Coronavirus: Frequently asked questions and useful organisations

    Dementia UK

    "We know that this is a worrying time for families looking after someone with dementia. The weeks ahead are going to be challenging. But there are a few things you can do to look after yourself, and the person with dementia, during this time.

    "Please remember that you never have to struggle on alone. If you have any concerns about caring for someone with dementia through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please call the dementia specialist Admiral Nurses on our Helpline, on 0800 888 6678 or email

    "The Helpline is open seven days a week, 9am-9pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5pm on weekends."

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