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What is Cocooning?

What is Cocooning?

Advice on Cocooning

The Government and health authorities have issued advice for people who are over 70 and those who are extremely medically vulnerable to cocoon themselves in their homes for an initial two-week period until the 12th of April to protect them from coronavirus (COVID-19).

What is Cocooning?

Cocooning is a measure to protect those over 70 years or those extremely medically vulnerable by minimising interaction between them and others. This means that these people should not leave their homes and even within their homes, they should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household.

The wider list of groups that need to cocoon themselves include people with severe respiratory conditions and transplant recipients, with a full list available at this link.

What cocooning means for you

Here are the steps you should take if you are in a group that has been asked to cocoon:

  1. Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus. These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
  2. Do not leave your house.
  3. Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services.
  4. Do not go out for shopping and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.
  5. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
  6. Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
  7. Ensure you keep phones/devices charged and have credit on your phone so that you can stay connected.
  8. Anyone who is over 70 and who also has one of the listed conditions should be especially careful to follow the guidelines around cocooning due to their higher risk.
  9. We advise everyone to access medical assistance remotely, wherever possible. However, if you have a scheduled hospital or other medical appointment during this period, talk to your GP or specialist to ensure you continue to receive the care you need and determine which of these are necessary.
  10. It is possible that your hospital may need to cancel or postpone some clinics and appointments. You should contact your hospital or clinic to confirm your appointments.
  11. It is good practice to have a list of alternative people who can help instead if your main carer becomes unwell.
  12. If you receive regular health or social care from an organisation, either through your local authority or paid for by yourself, inform your care providers that you are cocooning and agree a plan for continuing your care.

How you can get assistance with foods and medicines if you are cocooning

  1. In the first instance, family, friends and neighbours can support you once you adhere to cocooning guidelines and they adhere to physical distancing guidelines. Where possible use online services.
  2. If these options are not available to you, the government is putting in place assistance through the local authorities, working with the voluntary sector services, to ensure you can have access to food, essential household supplies and medicines. Each local authority will publish contact details.
  3. ALONE is providing a telephone support line, seven days a week from 8am – 8pm, for all older people and their families to contact. If you would like any advice, reassurance or additional support: call 0818222024. Their support lines are also open to extremely medically vulnerable people.
  4. The support line complements the clinical advice being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline.
  5. If you receive support from health and social care organisations, for example, if you have care provided for you through the local authority or health care system, this will continue as normal. Your health or social care provider will be asked to take additional precautions to make sure that you are protected.

Covid-19 Symptoms

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) are recent onset of:

  1. fever (high temperature) and
  2. cough
  3. shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus

If you develop coronavirus symptoms, get medical advice by phoning your GP. In an emergency, call 112 or 999 if you are seriously ill. Do this as soon as you get symptoms. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital unless you are told to do so.

If you need to go to hospital as a result of catching coronavirus you should prepare a single hospital bag. This will include your next of kin or emergency contact, a list of the medications you take (including dose and frequency), any information on your planned care appointments and things you would need for an overnight stay (snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication etc.) If you have an advanced care plan, please include that.

Steps to prevent infection in the home

  1. Contact all regular visitors to your home, to let them know that you are cocooning and that they should not visit you during this time unless they are providing essential care for you.
  2. While the rest of your household are not required to adopt these protective cocooning measures for themselves, they should do what they can to support you in cocooning and to strictly follow guidance on physical distancing.
  3. The following steps will help keep people who are cocooning safe from infection, and should be strictly followed by anyone coming into the same home:
  4. You should stay away from other people in your home most of the time in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that you can open.
  5. If you do have to go into the same room with other people in your home, you should try to keep at least 1 metre (3 ft) and where possible 2 metres away from them.
  6. You should wash your hands frequently and practice good respiratory etiquette.
  7. If you can, you should use a toilet and bathroom that no one else in the house uses.
  8. If you cannot have your own toilet and bathroom, the toilet and bathroom you use needs to be kept clean
  9. Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with you using the facilities first.
  10. Make sure you use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying themselves after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes.
  11. If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while they are present. If you can, you should take your meals back to your room to eat. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry the family’s used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing-up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly. Do not share cutlery and utensils.
  12. When using your own utensils, remember to use a separate tea towel for drying these.
  13. Clean all surfaces, such as counters, table-tops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets and toilet handles, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day with a cleaning product.
  14. When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus. Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label and check they can be used on the surface you are cleaning.

It will of course be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and tabletops.

Handwashing and respiratory hygiene

There are general principles you should follow to help prevent the spread of airway and chest infections caused by respiratory viruses, including:

  1. Clean your hands regularly - This is one of the most important things you can do. Do this after you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, and after you eat or handle food
  2. Try not to touch your face or anyone else’s face
  3. Cover your mouth and nose with a paper tissue when you cough or sneeze
  4. Place used tissues into a plastic waste bag and immediately clean your hands with alcohol hand rub or wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  5. Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms

Audiology Medical Services

Audiology is recognised as an essential service provider. Whilst we are unable to offer face-to-face consultations at this time, we will remain open to support people with hearing related issues.  We have put in place safe measures that allow you to post or drop off your hearing aid technology for checks and repairs.  Contact us on 1800-501-501 for more information.

If you require hearing aid batteries, domes or filters, please call us on 1800-501-501 or email info@audiologymedicalservices.ie


Source of information

HSE - Click Here


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