What you need to do to stay safe and healthy
Last updated: 13 August 2020
View the latest information about health and disability services at the following levels.
This is where you will find information specifically for disabled people and their family and whānau as well as links to accessible formats.
If you are a disability or aged care provider see COVID-19: Disability and aged care providers.
On this page:
- COVID-19 assessment and testing
- Getting disability support
- Easy Read
- How to get your flu vaccine
- Advice for at-risk disabled people
- Be clean and careful
- Find the facts
There are new criteria for checking if a person has COVID-19. As long as you have symptoms, you should be assessed by your health professional. Depending on your symptoms and circumstances, you may or may not need to be tested for COVID-19.
Read information on Assessment and testing.
For information about getting disability support during COVID-19 see Getting disability support.
For information about COVID-19 in Easy Read format, see Easy Read.
The flu can have a big impact on your health and the health of people in your community. A flu vaccine is recommended and free for people who are vulnerable and most likely to get more severe symptoms.
For more information see How to get your flu vaccine.
Some people such as those with underlying health conditions are more at risk of becoming very unwell from COVID-19.
For more information, visit Covid-19 advice for higher risk people.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Wash your hands regularly, especially:
- after using the bathroom
- after you blow your nose, cough or sneeze
- before or after you touch your face
- before and after eating
- after touching rubbish
- after touching animals and pets
- after changing babies’ nappies or helping children use the toilet
- before and after caring for a sick or vulnerable person
- after visiting a public place, such as a supermarket or park
- after using public transport
- after touching anything outside of your home
- after touching money
- when your hands look dirty.
How to wash your hands properly
- Step 1: Wet your hands with running water
- Step 2: Use enough soap to cover your wet hands
- Step 3: Scrub all surfaces of your hands – including the back of hands, between fingers, and under nails and around your wrists – for at least 20 seconds
- Step 4: Rinse thoroughly with running water
- Step 5: Dry hands with a clean cloth, single-use towel or blow-drier.
Wash and dry your hands often, even when you are at home. Soap kills any viruses that may be on your hands. If you don’t have soap and water, you can use hand sanitiser and rub it all over your hands like you would with soap and water. Hand sanitiser might be more convenient when you are outside of your home, but it can be expensive and difficult to find.
Stay away from sneezes
Where practical, try to stand at least 2 metres away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing even if you are at home.
When people cough or sneeze, they spray small droplets into the air which may have viruses in them. If you stand too close, you might breathe in the droplets, which could make you sick.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with:
- your bent elbow (not your hands)
- a tissue, then discard in the bin.
Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or touching your face.
When you cough or sneeze, you spray small droplets into the air which may have viruses in them. If other people breathe in the droplets, they might get sick.
Cover your coughs and sneezes, even when you are at home. Keep others safe.
If you feel sick
If you feel sick, even a little bit sick (for example if you have a cold):
- stay at home until you feel better
- try to stay in a separate room from people you live with
- don't go out and visit shops or public areas
- don’t use public transport, taxis or Ubers.
Contact your usual health care centre for advice if you are worried, or if you think you might have COVID-19. They will tell you what to do to keep yourself and other people healthy and let you know whether you should get tested for COVID-19.
Stay at home until you feel better, keep others safe.
Lots of people are talking about COVID-19 right now. It can be confusing when lots of people are saying different things. Make sure you get your information from official sources like the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 website.
If people tell you new information, ask where they got it from – make sure it's official. You can use Google to check where the information is from or ask someone you trust to check if it is correct.