My family and I are all just coming out of pretty much a 2 week isolation period due to having Covid. I’m not going to lie. It hasn’t been fun at all. We have been very lucky to have had a pretty mild experience with Covid. You can read all about this experience here for some reassurance! The illness was not pleasant but coping with being isolated for at least 10 days and likely more, depending on if and when you get Covid from a family member, I found harder. I thought I would write about how to prepare for isolation at home with your family and what to do just in case this situation hits you.
How Long Do You Have to Isolate for?
Now I’m taking this information from Public Health England and Gov.UK, as I’ve had some questions about how long we should have have been isolating for. I think many people feel it should have been longer and we should have all continued to isolate as a family, until everyone is out. This is not the case at all.
I started with symptoms on January 1st and did my positive lateral flow test on January 2nd. I also had a temperature. Immediately that meant the whole family was in isolation for a minimum of 10 days. My younger two children did not develop symptoms, so we all came out of isolation on January 12th.
However, my husband tested positive a few days later and my eldest started with symptoms a day after, so for both of them the clock reset and their 10 days started again. This is pretty tough, as my husband will have been home for almost 2 weeks but that’s the rules. My eldest could not go back to school for an extra week and we kept my baby boy home a bit longer too.
If I had a temperature again or any symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting isolation must continue. Track and trace called us a lot and we were kept well informed.
So bear in mind isolation is a MINIMUM of 10 days.
Prepare for Isolation at Home
I do feel this post is very food and supplies heavy but it can be really stressful when you are feeling unwell and have a family to take care of and you are running low on food. It is important to prepare for isolation at home.
Food Supplies During Isolation
Have some meals in the freezer all the time. This maybe you have batched cooked some meals or you have a few ready meals in. You may want to boost your easy freezer food for the kids and yourselves too. We had warmed up chilli, pizza one day and fish, wedges and vegetables another. It needs to be easy somedays, as you may feel too unwell or just too tired.
Get to grips with what you eat as a family over 10 days and have stores – Now I’m not saying stock pile like a crazy person but my husband has literally been planning for our isolation since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic! We used one of our cupboards in our utility room and had supplies like cereal, crackers, pasta and rice, baked beans, chopped tomatoes, nuts, stollen from Christmas (!), crisps, tinned tuna and sweetcorn. All these things can do easy, healthy meals. Things like tuna pasta salad, beans on toast or a simple pasta sauce.
You may like my easy Tuna pasta salad recipe.
My appetite went and is only just coming back really. We both also lost our taste and food was just eaten for survival literally. I’m not a crisp person at all and I was eating Quavers. I went off healthy food and seemed to only want food to get some calories in. Soup, eggs and bagels were my staples. Hubby had to make me eat in the early days.
Have a nominated person or persons who will do some shopping for you – I had some very kind offers to get food in for us but I had an agreement with my lovely neighbour that if either of our families were ill, we would get food for each other. We mainly needed milk and fruit over the 10 days, as luckily we were stocked up. But it was great having someone I could message to ask and we have each other’s bank details for a quick transfer of money to pay.
Book on-line shops ahead of time – My hubby must have had a bit of a sixth sense about our upcoming Covid infection, as after Christmas he booked us a few online shopping slots. This meant out first one was coming the day I was out of isolation. You want to be ready and if you go into isolation, you have those slots ready and are not frantically looking to book.
Ensure you have enough medicines and supplies ready – you don’t feel the best with Covid at all and the last thing you need is an empty medicine cupboard. Get in supplies of paracetamol, Calpol if you have kids, and cold and flu remedies. You may want to invest in a thermometer too. I did use some Vicks Vapour Rub at one point as felt congested. You may want cough medicine or honey and lemon but we didn’t need this, as our coughs were either very mild or didn’t have one.
Have a plan of what meals you can cook or order in if you are feeling too poorly – I touched on this point above. Have some ideas of what you could easily eat over 10 days if you were all stuck in. If it’s just you and no kids this maybe a little easier to prepare. As mentioned we had some freezer food in, batch cooked meals and cupboard supplies for easy meals.
What To Do During Isolation
Have Ideas of Things to Do at Home – we needed things for the kids to do before we resorted to screen time. I had the energy to make them a den, my middley played games with me in bed and they did colouring. I also had the energy to walk in the garden and on the drive, later in my isolation. It maybe good to have colouring and craft supplies, books and games.
You may like my post 50 Activities for Kids at Home.
Don’t worry if you can’t keep up with Home-Schooling – Having Covid is tiring and you may feel pretty ill. Obviously the kids will be off too and we found it pretty tough in the early days and struggled to help my eldest with her home schooling. Don’t worry about this. If they are simply reading or watching BBC Bitesize or playing, it is better than nothing.
Get prepared for a LOT of screen Time – for us our isolation came at the start of lockdown and the end of the Christmas holidays. We were gutted as the kids were so ready to go back to school (my kids go in as key worker children a few days a week). Over Christmas we had let the kids out on the road to play on their bikes and we weren’t allowed to do that. The kids had a lot more screen time than I was comfortable with but there simply wasn’t much else to do! My husband and I were very tired with Covid and we needed to rest too. I sat on the bed for days!
Get your mental health ready – isolation is tough mentally. I never knew how much I depended on a walk or run or a chat with a neighbour, during already rough times. When you can’t get out apart from the garden (and I know we are lucky to have one!) it was hard. I had to try and frame my mindset to rest and realise I couldn’t do anymore! I tried to read and watch some Netflix when I was feeling a bit fed up and hubby did the same. I was so tired, I couldn’t even write. It took me 4 days to write about my Covid experience.
Having Covid and being isolated was a double whammy and it wasn’t one of the easiest things we have ever been through but if you are prepared, it can make your isolation period, that little bit easier.
Hope this post to prepare for isolation at home has helped and good luck if it happens to you!