Covid-19: What is Cocooning?

For people most at risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus, the HSE are giving special advice called cocooning. Cocooning is for people who are extremely medically vulnerable. It is for your personal protection.

Cocooning means you should stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact. Even within your home, you should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of your household.

Ask your family, carers or neighbours for help to ensure you have the support you need. You can also get help while cocooning through your local County Council and other organisations.

If someone you care for needs to cocoon, share this information with them. Make sure they understand how important it is they follow this advice

People who need to cocoon

Cocooning is for people who:

  • are over 70 years of age – even if you’re fit and well
  • are solid organ transplant recipients
  • have cancer and are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • have cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • are having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • are having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • have severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
  • have rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  • are on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • are pregnant and have significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

If you are unsure whether or not you need to cocoon or not, talk to your doctor.

If you are an essential worker, get advice from Occupational Health.

How to cocoon


  • Stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for 2 weeks from 27 March.
  • If you have a garden or balcony, spend time outside for fresh air.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends over the phone or online if you have access.
  • Keep yourself mobile by getting up and moving as much as possible.
  • Ask neighbours, family or friends to get any shopping or medicine you need – do not go out shopping.
  • Arrange for food or medicine deliveries to be left outside your door.
  • Use the phone if you need to contact your GP or other services – do not leave your house.


  • Do not go outside your home and garden.
  • Do not have visitors to your home, except for essential carers.
  • Do not attend any gatherings, including gatherings with family and friends anywhere.
  • Phone your doctor if you have any symptoms of coronavirus.

Medicines and prescriptions

Changes have been to make it easier for you to get your medicines and prescriptions.

Read about medicines and coronavirus.


If you are cocooning but have a carer who visits you

Visits from people who provide essential support with your daily needs should continue. These include healthcare, personal support and social care. These people can still visit you if they do not have any symptoms.

When carers visit, they need to wash their hands when they arrive. They should wash their hands often when they are in your home. They should try to stay 2 metres away from you, if possible.

If a carer develops symptoms, they will not be able to care for you while they are unwell.

They must stay away until both the following apply to them:

  • 5 days with no fever
  • 14 days since their symptoms first appeared

Contact the person who arranged your care to arrange another carer.


If you are cocooning but have someone else living with you

Any members of your household who are over 70 or have any of the conditions listed above need to cocoon.

If other members of your household are under 70 and don’t have one of the conditions listed above, they do not need to cocoon. But they can help you stay well by following the advice on social distancing and hand hygiene at home. Even though it is hard, you should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of your household while you are cocooning.