Blood cancer and coronavirus
What if someone in my household gets covid?
If someone you live with tests positive for covid, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of catching it.
Page updated 28 November 2022
Practical ways to protect yourself
As someone who's at higher risk of serious illness, there are precautions you can take to protect yourself if someone you live with gets covid. These things may depend on the layout of your home and your relationship to the person who has covid.
Everyone’s situation is different, and it’s not usually possible to remove every risk. But there are lots of things you can do in combination to protect yourself:
- Wear an FFP3 face mask – a mask can protect you from inhaling particles in the air like dust, pollutants, bacteria and viruses. Masks classed as FFP3 offer the best protection, as they protect against the smaller particles. An FFP3 mask can't totally prevent you from getting covid, but it can reduce the risk.
- Ventilate your home – It helps to keep shared spaces well-ventilated by opening windows and letting air move in and out.
- Sleep separately – If you can, sleep in separate beds, or ideally, separate rooms.
- Stay 2 metres apart if you can – Keeping your distance can help, so try to stay in separate rooms as much as possible. Current evidence suggests that covid mainly spreads between people who are in close contact.
- Keep your hands clean – Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser, and avoid touching your face.
- Clean frequently – Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces which get touched a lot, such as door handles.
- Use separate bathrooms – Or if you share a bathroom, clean it after each use.
- Keep personal items separate – Use separate towels and keep personal items like toothbrushes away from each other.
- Don't share kitchen items – Use separate cutlery, crockery, dishcloths and tea towels to stop germs spreading.
Because coronavirus can be spread by airborne (aerosol) transmission as well as droplet transmission, you might still catch covid even if you try your best to stay apart. So it's also important that you:
- Order free lateral flow tests - use them so that if you do catch it, you'll find out quickly and can access any treatment you need.
- Get all of your covid vaccine doses - with each booster, more people with blood cancer develop covid antibodies.
- Know how to access the new antibody and antiviral treatments if you do get covid. They have been found to be effective in people with impaired immune systems who get covid.
- Talk to us and get support - we know this is an extremely worrying time. Even though we can’t take all the risks and worry away, just talking to someone who understands can help.
Coping with risk and the lifting of restrictions
As many people in the population go 'back to normal', people with blood cancer remain at high risk from covid and are still having to balance avoiding infection with living their lives. We have more information, stories and tips about coping with risk and making decisions.
Moving out temporarily
You may want to consider staying somewhere else until the person with covid has finished their self-isolation period, if that's an option for you. You would need to be sure that anyone you move in with is fully vaccinated and is not at high risk from covid themselves.
Looking after your mental health
As someone who has blood cancer or has had it in the past, you're bound to feel anxious about being in close proximity to someone with covid. You may also be worried about the person who's ill, although most otherwise healthy people will have it mildly, especially if they are fully vaccinated.
Covid treatments for people at high risk
It may be reassuring to know that people at high risk of serious illness from covid are eligible for antibody and antiviral treatments if they test positive. This includes most people with blood cancer.
Read more about covid treatments and how to get them if you test positive.
Join our mailing list for key updates about coronavirus for people with blood cancer, what we're doing to help, and ways you can help, including campaigns you may be interested in.
Support for you
Call our free and confidential support line on 0808 2080 888. We are currently receiving a very high volume of calls related to coronavirus, so if you're not able to get through straight away, please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
You can also email us if you prefer to get in contact that way. We'll usually get back to you within two working days, but due to the current rate of calls and emails we are currently receiving it may take us longer.
Talk to other people with blood cancer on our Online Community Forum – there is a group for coronavirus questions and support.
You can also find out what's helping other people affected by blood cancer through coronavirus and beyond in our pages on living well with blood cancer.
The following companies have provided funding for our coronavirus support, but have had no further input: AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Celgene, Gilead, Incyte, Kyowa Kirin, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda.