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How to look after yourself at home if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19

Most people with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and feel better within a few weeks.

You may be able to look after yourself at home while you recover.


People at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 may be eligible for treatments.

Find out more about treatments for COVID-19 and who can have them

How to treat COVID-19 symptoms at home

Treating a high temperature

If you have a high temperature, it can help to:

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

Treating a cough

If you have a cough, it's best to avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit upright instead.

To help ease a cough, try having a teaspoon of honey. But do not give honey to babies under 12 months.

If this does not help, you could contact a pharmacist for advice about cough treatments.

Things to try 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.

You could also try:

  • breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth, with your lips together like you're gently blowing out a candle
  • sitting upright in a chair
  • relaxing your shoulders, so you're not hunched
  • 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.

Watch a video to find out how you can help relieve breathlessness

Video: tips for breathlessness

Find out how you can help relieve breathlessness.

Media last reviewed: 2 June 2023
Media review due: 2 June 2026

How to avoid passing COVID-19 on to others

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, there are things you can do to help you avoid passing it on to other people, including those you live with:


  • try to work from home if you can – if you're unable to work from home, ask your employer about options available to you

  • try to stay away from other people, including those you live with, until you feel better

  • wear a face covering that fits snugly against your face and has more than 1 layer when you are in shared rooms, or if you need to leave your home

  • keep windows open for at least 10 minutes after you have left shared rooms to let in fresh air

  • do any exercise outdoors and where you will not be in close contact with other people

  • let people who need to come into your home know that you’ve tested positive or have symptoms

  • think about asking friends, family or neighbours to get food and other essentials for you

  • avoid indoor or crowded places (including public transport or large social gatherings) or places where there is not much fresh air if you need to leave your home

  • let any healthcare professionals know about your positive test result or symptoms if you’re asked to attend an appointment in person


You should avoid being in close contact with people at increased risk of getting ill from COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have tested positive.

This includes anyone who is pregnant, is aged 60 or over, or has a weakened immune system due to a health condition or because of a medical treatment.

More information:

Page last reviewed: 21 March 2023
Next review due: 21 March 2026