Self-isolating in a shared space: a quick guide

Let’s face it – the closet introvert in all of us probably quite likes the sound of a bit of self-isolating. You get to hide away in your room, get food delivered to you and not have to make any social plans.

But with so many of our students living in house shares or halls of residence with shared facilities, you may be wondering how best to self-isolate, whether that’s just as a precaution or because one of your household is showing symptoms.

We’ve rounded up some of the top tips for keeping you and your household safe and well during this difficult time:

Keep yourself to yourself

The government’s advice is to stay in a well-ventilated room with an open window and the door closed, keeping separate from others. So while that means being alone, you don’t have to be lonely: make sure you keep in social contact with others via telephone and online, and regularly let friends and family know how you are coping. Try to use communal areas only when no one else is there, and wear a facemask if one has been issued to you.

Using the kitchen

Avoid using a shared kitchen while others are using it, and take meals back to your room to eat (finally, an excuse to eat in bed while gorging on trash TV!). If you have a dishwasher, use it to clean and dry your crockery and cutlery, but if not wash them by hand using detergent and warm water and dry them thoroughly, using a separate tea towel.

Using the bathroom

Experts suggest using a separate bathroom to the rest of the household. As for many of us that simply isn’t possible, you’ll just have to make sure you give it a thorough clean more often – on the upside, with the change in seasons now is the perfect time for ‘spring cleaning’! Try to draw up a rota to share the responsibility, but if a member of the household is self-isolating because of symptoms they should be the last to use the bathroom and ensure they clean it afterwards. They should also use separate towels from anyone else in the house for drying themselves after showering, bathing or washing their hands.

Communicate with each other

Potential is high in this situation for things to get a bit tense around the house, so make sure you keep communicating with those you live with. Acknowledge your feelings to one another and decide together how best to handle the situation. Create boundaries that you can all stick to or adapt as needed, and you will be able to emerge with friendships intact.

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So remember, while the above is not an ideal way of living, by taking these simple steps we can help safeguard our own health and the health of those we live with.

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