Treating COVID-19 at home

It’s important to know how to look after yourself if you have COVID-19 and you’re feeling poorly at home.

General home hygiene


If you share your home with other people, try to keep 2 metres distance where possible. Use your own bathroom if you can, and always wear a face covering over your mouth & nose.

Keep regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Avoid sharing personal items like towels, bedding, clothes and dishes.

Try to keep high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, tabletops and counters clean. Wipe them regularly throughout the day with household cleaning sprays or disinfectant wipes. If you’re cleaning up for someone with COVID-19, wear a face covering and disposable gloves and dispose of them in a lined rubbish bin afterwards.

Treating COVID-19 symptoms at home

If you have a high temperature (usually considered to be 38C or above)

  • get lots of rest
  • drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration. Try to drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable

If you have a cough:

Try to lie on your side or sit upright. It’s best to try to avoid lying on your back.

Try having a teaspoon of honey to help ease the cough.

Call a pharmacist for advice about cough treatments if honey doesn’t help. Please remember not to go to the chemists or pharmacy.  If you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms, or are isolating,  you must all stay at home.

Try to cover all coughs and sneezes with tissue or the inside of your elbow to minimise the spread of droplets. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth until you wash your hands.

If you’re feeling breathless:

  • If you’re feeling breathless, it can help to keep your room cool.
  • Try turning the heating down or opening a window. Do not use a fan as it may spread the virus.
  • Try breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth, with your lips together like you’re gently blowing out a candle
  • Try sitting upright in a chair
  • Try relaxing your shoulders, so you’re not hunched
  • Try leaning forward slightly – support yourself by putting your hands on your knees or on something stable like a chair
  • Try not to panic if you’re feeling breathless. This can make it worse.
Get more help

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

This could be if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • you feel breathless and it’s getting worse
  • your symptoms get worse and you’re not sure what to do

Get more advice about what to do when symptoms get worse on the NHS website.

Get more information about treating COVID at home on the NHS website.

If you need help while you’re staying at home

The Isle of Wight Coronavirus helpline can help if you have to self-isolate and have no-one to support you.

This page has more general information about preventing the spread of COVID-19

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