Covid Scotland: How long are you infectious with Covid? Guidance for positive tests around Christmas

While this Christmas may be different from those in the previous years amid the Covid pandemic, many may still be forced to alter their plans with coronavirus cases still prevalent in Scotland.

With the cold weather, winter bugs are more common in the current climate.

Flu cases in Scotland are at their highest level for five years, health officials have said. Public Health Scotland (PHS) has now raised the incidence of influenza from “high” to “extraordinary” activity level.

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As well as bugs and other seasonal illnesses, some people may still be testing for Covid in advance of seeing family members, or if they are feeling under the weather.

Covid cases are on the increase in Scotland.Covid cases are on the increase in Scotland.
Covid cases are on the increase in Scotland.

Infections of Covid-19 and flu are rising in Scotland, and throughout the rest of the UK, as more people mix indoors due to bad weather, health experts have warned.

While there has been an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases being detected, PHS stressed this will not necessarily lead to a rise in hospitalisations or death – with vaccines and natural immunity meaning experts do not expect the same level of people requiring hospital treatment that there was earlier in the pandemic.

Although no rules are in place for family gatherings, here is the current guidance for testing, the current period for isolation and what to do if you have a positive test.

Positive Covid test: Do you need to stay at home and self isolate?

Current guidance urges from NHS Inform those who have tested positive members of the public are urged to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took your test, or from the day your symptoms started if possible. Self isolation is not mandatory but encouraged in order to protect loved ones and from spreading Covid. The day after you took the test should count as day 1.

Children and those under the age of 18 should also stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day they took the test if they can, with young people being infectious for less time than adults.

Members of the public have been urged to isolate until they no longer have a high temperature or until you feel better.

How long are you infectious with Covid?

Those who have tested for Covid tend to be infectious for 5 days, but this can last over 5 days and some people may be infectious to other people for up to 10 days from the start of their infection.

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If you continue to have a temperature of feel ill then you should still isolate.

Protection from Covid and winter viruses

There is no vaccine for winter viruses and a number of bugs are much more common in the winter months. While there is no protection in the form of vaccination, there are some steps that can be taken to try and ensure good health. Good hand hygiene can offer some protection against many of the common viruses causing a range of respiratory and other infections. Keeping surfaces clean and ensuring good personal hygiene could also help protect against illness in the household.