5 ways to protect yourself from Covid-19 this winter - with cases on the rise, here’s how to stop the spread

These simple daily actions can help stop the spread of Covid and other respiratory illnesses and safeguard individuals who are most vulnerable.

The colder months have arrived, bringing with it an increase in flu and Covid infections, putting those with underlying health concerns at risk. Even though there are no longer any rules in force, there are several easy things you can do to limit your chances of catching and spreading the virus.

Covid, along with a variety of other respiratory illnesses like the flu, can spread quickly and give some people serious side effects. Even if you don’t display Covid symptoms, you can still infect others.

When an infected person is close to other people or shares an enclosed and/or poorly ventilated space with them, the chance of passing it on increases. Small particles containing the virus that causes the infection are released when a person with a respiratory viral infection, such as Covid, breathes, speaks, coughs, or sneezes. These specks may be inhaled or may make contact with the mouth, nose, or eyes. Additionally, the particles have the ability to fall to the ground and spread by touching people.

You won’t always be able to tell whether someone you interact with has a higher risk of developing a serious respiratory infection, like Covid. They might be strangers, like the people you sit next to on a bus or train, or they might be people you interact with frequently, for example, friends and colleagues.

But simple daily actions can help stop the spread of Covid and other respiratory illnesses and safeguard individuals who are most vulnerable. According to the Government website, these simple steps could help protect you from catching the virus especially during this time of the year.

5 ways to protect yourself against Covid

  • Get vaccinated

The best way to protect against Covid and other respiratory illnesses like the flu is to get a vaccine. They offer the best protection against being hospitalised and dying. They also lower the chance that symptoms will last a long time. The Covid vaccines are safe and work well, and you can find out more about the vaccines you can get and when you should get them from the NHS website.

  • Let in some fresh air

In places with little air flow, the amount of respiratory viruses in the air can build up. This makes it more likely that Covid and other respiratory infections will spread, especially if there are a lot of people who are already sick. The virus can also stay in the air after a person who has it has left the room.

By opening a door or window, even for a few minutes at a time, you can let fresh air into a room. This helps get rid of old, stale air that could contain virus particles and makes it less likely that infections will spread. Trickle vents, which are small vents that are usually on top of a window, or grilles can also be used to bring in a little bit of fresh air all the time. The faster viruses will leave a room, the more fresh air that can be brought in.

Letting the fresh air in can also prevent the virus from spreading
  • Remember basics of proper hygiene

If you follow these basic rules of good hygiene, you and others will be less likely to get Covid and many other common infections:

When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth

People who cough and sneeze release more particles into the air, and those particles travel farther and stay in the air longer. If a person with the flu coughs or sneezes without covering their nose and mouth, it makes it much more likely that they will infect others nearby. By covering your nose and mouth, you’ll make it harder for virus-carrying particles to spread.

When you cough or sneeze, use a paper towel to cover your mouth and nose. Place used tissues in the bin and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer right away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow instead of your hand.

A total of 44% of people infected with Covid have reported sneezing as a symptom on the ZOE Covid app, although it tends to be more common among people who have been vaccinated and then tested positive for the virus.

You should wash or clean your hands

Hands touch many things and can pick up viruses and other germs from them. Once your hands are dirty, you can get them in your eyes, nose, or mouth. There, germs can get into your body and make you sick.

When you wash or disinfect your hands, you get rid of viruses and other germs. This makes it less likely that you will get sick if you touch your face. The best way to clean your hands, especially if they look dirty, is to use soap and water. If you don’t have soap and water, you can use hand sanitizer. This is something you should do often throughout the day.

  • Clean up your place

People who have Covid or other germs can spread them to surfaces and things when they touch them or cough, talk, or breathe over them. Cleaning surfaces will make it less likely that you will get sick or pass it on. You should also clean your home often by paying special attention to handles, light switches, work surfaces, and electronic devices like remote controls that are often touched.

  • Cover your face or wear a face mask

When someone has Covid or another respiratory infection, wearing a face covering or face mask can cut down on the number of virus-filled particles that pass from their mouth and nose. Face coverings can also keep some viruses from infecting the person who is wearing them.