Coronavirus – Tips on coping with self isolation

GP Clare Gerada, 60, has been in self isolation herself for over a week since contracting the new coronovirus after a trip to New York. Here are her tips for getting through lockdown.

Make sure you and your family plan ahead so you have the support you need. Find at least one person (ideally two) who can act as an intermediary when you are in self isolation and can interact with the outside world on your behalf. That person could be a member of your family, a friend or a neighbour.

Protect yourself. Anyone who comes into your home should be free of symptoms of the virus – so not high fever or dry coughing. And healthy people should always wear a mask and wash their hands immediately.
Like a lot of people. I have got a dog. Since I’ve been in isolation, my husband has been walking him. If possible, arrange for someone to walk your dog since you won’t be able to take your dog beyond your garden for exercise but outdoor cats can go in and out as normal. Thoroughly wash your hands after interacting with a pet.

If you do take regular medicine and need the regular support of nursing staff, discuss these needs with your surgery – without going in if possible. Make sure you have set up your repeat prescriptions and repeat deliveries – your pharmacy should be able to continue this service. Keep the details of your surgery and 111 on your fridge.

Get used to wearing gloves. I wore ordinary outdoor gloves which reduves the likelihood of touching infected surfaces and also stops your touching your face. You don’t need surgical gloves – the woolly kind will do.

My lovely son has bought me an adult Lego model – I’m doing the Empire State Building at the moment. Get out the grandkid’s Lego and stock up o jigsaw puzzles. Don’t rely on the TV – who wants to watch telly non stop for four months?
Everyone has some books in their house which they never got round to reading. Start with those or get some books from your local library. I’ve been reading books which I never would have read and they’ve been fascinating.

Dr Clare Gerada
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