8 Ways You Can Reduce Your Risk Of Contracting Covid This Winter

Downing Street may be ignoring calls for stricter measures but there are a few things you can do to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

Covid cases have risen to worryingly high levels yet Downing Street has refused to introduce any “immediate” measures which could curb the spread of the virus.

The government has publicly batted away calls for stricter nationwide strategy dubbed plan B.

However, senior ministers have warned that if people don’t start being responsible for their own health – of their own volition – there’s a greater chance of a later lockdown.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Ventilate your home

Doctors and scientists have backed a nationwide campaign funded government to open their windows for 10 minutes every hour over the winter.

Covid can build up in enclosed spaces if an infected person is talking to another person, increasing the chance of transmission, so increasing the airflow in your home will push the virus out in the open.

2. Get vaccinated

The UK Health Security has estimated that the vaccine rollout has saved 130,000 lives and prevented 24.3 million infections.

So far 86% of over-12s have had at least one vaccine dose and approximately 79% of those in the UK over-12 have had both doses.

The UK is now trailing its European neighbours when it comes to its vaccine rollout.

Health secretary Sajid Javid is considering mandatory vaccine jabs for those in the health service and has already introduced compulsory vaccinations for social care workers.

3. Get your booster

All those aged over 50, the clinically vulnerable, frontline health and social care workers are being encouraged to take up the booster.

The NHS will contact those who are eligible once it has been at least six months after their second dose of the vaccine.

The health service also claims that if it’s been more than six months and one week since you received your second dose, you can try and book your booster through the NHS website.

4. Get the flu jab

The NHS is looking to immunise more than half of the UK population following fears that more people could be susceptible to the flu after spending last winter in lockdown.

Medical specialists believe people may have lost their immunisation to the flu as a result, and this winter, influenza will be circulating at the same time as Covid.

The health service wants to make sure approximately 35 million people are protected against the flu.

Free flu shots are available for frontline health and social care workers, pregnant people, those aged 50 and over, the vulnerable and children up until school year 11.

The jabs can be booked at GP practices or local pharmacies. Pregnant people can request a jab at a local maternity service too.

Everyone eligible is being encouraged to get their booster jab of the Covid vacciner
Halfpoint Images via Getty Images
Everyone eligible is being encouraged to get their booster jab of the Covid vacciner

5. Wear a mask in crowded places

Face coverings have not been mandatory since July 19 when all restrictions were lifted.

However, masks are known to reduce viral transmission. If you’re carrying the virus, your face covering will reduce the dispersion of the droplets which go into the air when you exhale.

Face coverings are particularly helpful when you’re in a crowded, indoor place mixing with lots of people.

Health secretary Sajid Javid urged his colleagues to cover up their faces with masks as MPs “have a role to play to set an example” last week, but then backtracked and said it’s a “personal decision” for individuals to make just days later.

The prime minister’s spokesperson has also claimed that it is down to each person’s judgements and responsibility about whether to wear a mask.

Wash your hands where possible
PeopleImages via Getty Images
Wash your hands where possible

6. Wash your hands

Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser where possible helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Travelling on public transport or in crowded areas means you are more likely to touch objects which a person who might unknowingly have the virus may have touched just before you.

Keeping your hands clean also stops you from spreading the virus in the event that you have it.

If they’re not clean, try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth until you can wash your hands.

7. Work from home if possible

While turning your home into your workplace is not an option available to everybody, it does mean fewer people would be crowding into public spaces on their commute.

If you have to go into work, it would help if you kept a safe distance from other people where possible and open doors and windows to let fresh air in if meeting colleagues indoors.

8. Reduce how many people you see

Try to meet people outside or limit the number of people you meet indoors, if you can.

Meeting people outdoors reduces the likelihood of passing on an infection due to air circulation.