Coronavirus is caused by a virus, not bacteria. It spreads between people in tiny droplets when someone with the virus talks, sneezes or coughs. It can stay in the air and on surfaces for a short time.
To protect yourself from coronavirus and help prevent it from spreading:
wash your hands regularly with soap and water
avoid touching your face
follow social distancing guidelines
avoid crowded spaces
Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Bin the tissue or wash your hands immediately.
Coronavirus symptoms include a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.
Stay at home for at least:
7 days if you have symptoms
14 days if someone you live with has symptoms
Call 111 if you’re worried about symptoms or other health conditions that may put you at a higher risk.
Hand washing and coronavirus
Keeping your hands clean at home and in public is important to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Sometimes health professionals call this 'hand hygiene'. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that washing your hands regularly offers more protection than wearing rubber gloves.
How to wash your hands
Rub your hands together with a bar of soap or liquid soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds or the time it takes to sing 'Happy Birthday' twice. Remember to wash the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and your thumbs and wrists.
As well as washing your hands often, you may want to clean any equipment you use regularly or take outside, such as:
mobility aids like crutches, walkers and wheelchairs
rails, lifts or portable ramps
It's sensible to take some precautions, but think about your energy levels too. Only do what you can manage.
When surfaces are dirty, use a fabric cloth and hot soapy water to wipe down:
seats and armrests
controls and breaks
You can then wash the cloth in the washing machine.
You can use stronger products to disinfect these surfaces. Check the safety labels on products like disinfectant and bleach to see what materials you can use them on. Spray or pour products onto a cloth instead of directly onto your equipment. Use gloves to protect your skin. Wear old clothing or an apron as stronger products can stain. Allow surfaces to dry fully before touching or sitting on them.
Check the safety labels on stronger products like disinfectant and bleach to see what materials you can use them on. Spray or pour products onto a cloth instead of directly onto your equipment.
If you're not sure if you can use a cleaning product on your equipment, check with the manufacturer first. Try searching on their website for cleaning instructions, or contact them by email or phone.
Cleaning your home
You may be worried about keeping your home clean, especially if you live with other people. To ease your worry, clean the things you regularly use or touch, for example:
handles and knobs
banisters and handrails
kitchen appliances like your kettle, hob, oven and microwave
If you have a personal assistant (PA) or carer who comes into your home, speak with them if you have any concerns about coronavirus. You should also:
check they have the right personal protective equipment (PPE) make sure they wash their hands before coming into your home limit the places they go in your home
clean any surfaces they have touched after they leave