How to help yourself and others during the COVID-19 outbreak

By Dr Angela Goyal

GPwER Dermatology

Clinical Lead AQP, GP and Clinical Lead at OneMedical Group


We all want to stay safe and keep our loved ones protected. We want to protect our jobs, our income and our children’s education. This is on the forefront of our minds as we make sense of what is happening around us.

However, this disease is going to challenge is a way we have never seen before and even change our everyday behaviours, and thinking.

The little things we take for granted, our daily habits, greetings and time with our families – we have to make changes at a time when we face personal challenges.

Here are some of the concepts that we have to grasp quickly

It’s not just about me

Our evolutionary instincts are telling us to look after ourselves and our families.

However the social distancing and isolation practices are also to protect others. You are doing this to avoid high rates of transmission of COVID-19 in the Community. If you are young and healthy this could even be the most impactful thing you ever do to for your society… keeping away! The stay at home and social distancing measures are to ensure the NHS is not critically overstretched , so people who need lifesaving treatment can get it. This could be any of us. Even if you think your individual risk of COVID-19 complications is low, people are still going to get ill in the usual ways. I cannot stress this enough.

Stay at home!


I guess this disease reminds us how we are a Community and how the human race is so interlinked. So follow the government guidelines on this. Distance your self generally. Walks in the park away from others will replace large gatherings and remote working will replace the daily commute. Self isolate for 7 days if you have a new continuous cough or fever, and your whole household for 14 days.

You are needed by those close to you

We connect with people across the world on social media. We make each other laugh with jokes and inspire each other with stories from our phone. But now it is time to put the phone away connect with our Community.

Who are the elderly couple on the end of the street, who are following stringent social distancing, so can’t get to supermarkets or pharmacy? An offer to deliver supplies could help them to keep the distancing that they need to do, but also avoid loneliness.

Who lives alone who would struggle with a lack of human connection. A ten minute chat in the fresh air, on the street at a safe distance, which is considered 2 metres, could brighten their day and boost their mental health.

We all need to look after those who fall into vulnerable groups who need to be strict with social distancing. We dont want them to suffer with loneliness which can lead to further disease in itself.

Full guidance on social distancing is here

Staying at home, conversing from a distance, washing our hands more and looking out for our neighbours may seem like small interventions. But these everyday behaviours are essential to allow the NHS to cope with treating sick people.