Campervan Life in a time of Coronavirus:
A Complete UK Guide to COVID-19 by Sussex Campervans
Sussex Campervans now offer the new Virtual Visit. Come and see us from the security of your sofa.
We can give you some of the unique experience of visiting us here at Sussex Campervans, the chance to look at our stock campers, discuss bespoke options and even get a specification prepared and a quotation just for you.
This is a completely contactless way of viewing and buying a campervan, to keep you safe from the coronavirus. We are now doing our second contactless handover, sending a video to our client explaining how everything works in the campervan, and then delivering the van to our client's address, along with our comprehensive owner’s manual.
During this time of restrictions on account of the current medical situation, we are offering good virtual aftercare support to all our campervan owners - so if you have any worries, just give us a call as usual.
Kate, our resident storyteller, will be continuing to post some inspiring photos of campervan life on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels to remind us that we all have plenty to look forward very soon.
If you have any photos to share, or campsites to recommend, we'd love to see them. We always need good snapshots for our owners publication, Campervan Lifestyle.
Stay safe and well - CHECK OUT THE VIRTUAL VISIT- and never give up on the dream. Whatever your campervan needs, we can help.
Daniel and Rebekah,
Founders of Sussex Campervans
Is it Safe to go Out in a Campervan?
“Can I go out without catching it or spreading it?” Here’s how a camper helps you to avoid Coronavirus without being stuck at home. Unless there is a full lock-down people will still be able to drive their own vehicles and take exercise in the open air. So if you own a campervan, there are still plenty of ways to stay safe and still have fun in 2020, provided you are feeling well and fit.
- Use your camper as a day van - put picnic ingredients in the fridge, brew fresh tea on the go, wash hands in the sink and enjoy a relaxing day out.
- Weekend camper - going walking in the wilds? Park the campervan at the start of the route the day before and get some peaceful sleep, far from towns and cities. Get up at first light to get going before everyone else. You could even be up a mountain and back before most people are up and about. But if you do meet anyone just keep 6ft (2m) apart to stay safe from any potential Coronavirus infection. Most people won’t be climbing the hills and mountains unless they’re fit and well. When you get back to the camper, wash your hands, eat, sleep, repeat.
- Visiting family and friends in need. If you need to visit or help loved ones in those “at-risk” groups, go in your campervan. They should be safe from any infection that you may be carrying if you chat in their garden (2m apart). This would be useful if you need to deliver essential supplies to them.
- Use the van as a spare room so that you can be on-hand to help elderly parents or friends, without staying with them.
- Sunsets - nothing lifts the spirits as much as getting out in the natural world. Put a few supplies in the van and head west to catch the sun going down on a sunny day.
- Stargazing - chances are, you’ll be alone with the stars if you head to the nearest dark-sky hilltop in your camper.
- Wildlife spotting - your campervan makes a great “hide”. Park quietly in the countryside and see which nocturnal animals come and check you out.
- Photography - pack a tripod and digital SLR - or a mobile phone or tablet in your camper and drive somewhere scenic to capture wild seas, faces in clouds, will o’the whisp mists and the changing sunlight on the landscape.
- Make every outing a mini-break - pack your favourite indulgent treats: fruit and nuts, delicious sourdough, focaccia or sundried tomato bread and a selection of cheeses, olives, grapes, beer, wine, strawberries and chocolate. There’s even space in the campervan fridge for some ice-cream.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is not something new. In fact Coronaviruses have been around for a long time. What is currently being seen around the world is a new strain of Coronavirus called COVID-19. This new type is recognised as a virus that can cause disease and directly impacts breathing and the respiratory system. Medical professionals are describing it as a viral pneumonia.
In the majority of cases symptoms are mild and not life threatening, however elderly citizens and those with underlying health issues are more vulnerable and should consider taking some additional precautions to stay safe.
How did Coronavirus Start?
While nothing is certain, experts believe that COVID-19 originated in a wet market in Wuhan, China. Wet markets are home to large amounts of battery farmed animals all living in low hygiene conditions. These are particularly dangerous as they present opportunities for viruses and disease to spread not just from one animal to another, but between species. However, while viruses are very good at jumping between species, it’s rare for a deadly one to make the journey all the way to humans, but this is exactly what happened.
In this particular instance it’s believed that COVID-19 went from a bat to a pangolin before finally infecting a human host. Something that would only be possible inside of a wet market. While wet markets exist all over the world, the ones in China are infamous as they have a particularly large variety of wildlife.
This is not the first time a virus originated from a wet market in southern China. SARS, another coronavirus that hit the globe in 2002, also started in a similar way.
What to Do if you Think you Have Coronavirus?
If you have a persistent new cough and a high temperature, it’s time to take action. Don’t just ignore it and hope it goes away, as you might with a cold. Protect yourself and your loved ones by taking these steps. Here’s what to do if you think you have Coronavirus:
- Ease the cough by drinking water, honey and lemon and other fruit drinks of your choice.
- Check your temperature - for most people 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celcius is the normal temperature.
- Keep a note of your temperature regularly. A fever is a oral temperature higher than 37.8 degrees Centigrade. It will make you feel hot, then cold, then shivery and generally unwell. This fever will help your body to fight the coronavirus by stimulating your immune response. You may feel awful, but it is some comfort that the heat can make it harder for the virus to thrive.
- Take paracetamol if you need to ease headaches and reduce a temperature.
- Do not take ibuprofen, as there is some evidence from other countries that this may make things worse.
- Avoid all close contact with others who don’t have the virus.
- Tell friends and family and ask if they can help you by dropping food and supplies on your doorstep for you.
Ring your GP surgery if it’s open, or dial 111 for the 24-hour NHS service if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Raging thirst.
- Less urine than normal.
- Dark urine.
- Feeling faint, light-headed and weak.
- New severe muscle cramps.
- Your symptoms have got worse.
- You have a fever after recent foreign travel.
- If you have been in contact with someone who has the virus.
Should you Self-Isolate in a Campervan?
If you are feeling well, but are in a high risk age group, or have underlying health issues, you must still stay away from other people, and especially groups of people. There is some evidence that people can pass the virus on even before their symptoms show up. So If you are lucky enough to own a campervan, this can help you stay safe and avoid other people, while having fun.
Travel Advice: COVID-19
If you live abroad or have been hoping to travel abroad and are concerned about the border closures and lockdowns in Europe due to the coronavirus, see the Foreign Office Advice for Travellers on the Government website for the latest news.
If You’re Abroad in your Campervan
Many campervan owners enjoy touring Europe to escape the worst of our British winter. Most will have returned home at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic. If you’re still abroad in your campervan what can you do?
- Contact your ferry company to make sure you can still travel.
- Contact your travel insurance company to check what cover you have.
- Follow the quarantine advice in the local area and comply with local isolation measures until they are lifted.
- Minimise contact with local people, apart from buying supplies to cook in your campervan.
- Keep checking the Foreign Office travel advice for your location, while the situation evolves. You can put the country or region in the drop-down box and sign up for helpful email updates. For instance, in France only essential travel is permitted - and you will need to download and complete an “Attestation” form explaining your reason for travel. If you can’t print the form you are allowed to hand write the form’s wording on a piece of paper and sign it. Police are stopping vehicles and checking this form even in small villages.
Stay cheerful and well - the lockdown will not last forever. If you become sick, contact a doctor in the area where you are staying.
Building Hope - Plan for a Better Future
Wishing you’d bought a campervan sooner? It’s not too late - our preloved and new stock is ready to whisk you away. And with a portable loo, 50L fridge, heating and a big refillable LPG tank on board, you will be able to break away from the herd and go exploring, as soon as any travel restrictions are lifted. Making plans now means you will have so many wonderful things to look forward to once the emergency has passed.
In the meantime, many of our existing campervan owners do find their vehicle handy for collecting supplies for vulnerable neighbours. Before Christmas one Sussex Campervan owner used his new van to distribute survival packs from his local church to the homeless. Building hope through small acts of kindness is vital for everyone during this pandemic, and now is a great time to plan for a better future.
Is it Safe to Buy a Campervan Now?
"I want a camper now, but how safe is it to come and choose one?" Daniel & Rebekah filmed a livestream video for our Sussex Campervans Facebook page to explain how we can keep you safe when you visit our woodland workshops near Horsham. Here are some of the main points.
- We’ve stepped up the cleaning routine on all the campervans for sale on the forecourt.
- Our sales guys will invite you to go inside the campervans while they answer any questions from outside the camper, 2 metres away.
- Our “Welcome” van is available for visitors - and when you go inside we’ll offer you canned drinks or hot drinks, with individually wrapped biscuits. As with the campervans, we will speak to you from outside the van.
Can I View Your Campervans from Home?
If you are interested in seeing a particular van in more detail, we’re happy to make a quick video tour and email it to you, so that you can watch it from the comfort of your own home.
We can even give you a live video tour, so that you can ask questions as we show you around!
Design It Now - Collect it Later
We can make it possible for you to have fun designing your own campervan interior now and place an order for a van to be delivered later - when you feel that the Coronavirus risk has receded.
To start with, take a look at our gallery of photos showing campervan interiors for each campervan layout, showcasing some of the best bespoke campervan interiors we've created so far. We can build a camper that’s as colourful - or subtle - as you are. Have fun creating campervans to suit your favourite colour schemes.
Many people like to create mood boards, looking online for colourful blankets, bedding and bunting to suit their campervan’s interior. And for anyone who enjoys crochet, sewing or knitting, there are friendly Facebook groups sharing brilliant craft ideas. Jenny, one of our Sussex Campervan owners, recommends Crafty Campers.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
How can you tell if you might have coronavirus? The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
- A new continuous cough.
- A very high temperature.
- Shortness of breath.
The current NHS advice is that you must stay at home for 7 days if you have the symptoms of coronavirus. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.
“If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.”
If you have a campervan, this could be very useful for self-isolating. Even in normal times a campervan is often used as a spare bedroom when friends and family visit. Now it would be excellent for anyone sick to move into the campervan, outside your home, to help prevent spreading the virus through a family.
Even if you have no symptoms, it’s best to stay a safe distance (6ft or 2 metres) away from anyone aged 70 or over in your household, or anyone pregnant or with a weakened immune system or long-term illness such as asthma, heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
If you get the virus and you share the kitchen and bathroom, clean the facilities and all the door handles, cooker controls, kettle handle, sinks and taps with hand sanitiser or soap after use.
Your symptoms should improve after 7 days.
If the illness gets worse, and especially if you are struggling to breathe and it almost feels like drowning, please ring the NHS 111 service for advice straight away.
If you are all young and generally fit, you may only have fairly mild symptoms - but it’s still worth self-isolating, as recommended, to avoid spreading the virus.
What to stock up on for Coronavirus? Essential Quarantine items
While it is important to be prepared for the possibility of self-isolation and to make sure that you have all of the necessary essentials available, hoarding or over-stocking isn’t a wise choice.
Even in countries where Covid-19 has the highest number of cases, people are still able to purchase all of the items that they need. Buying too many of particular items just results in longer queue times for others shopping and therefore higher risk of spreading the coronavirus. It also severely hurts the elederly and more vulnerable members of society.
However, since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that entire families should self-isolate for 14 days if a member of the household catches the virus, it is important that you have some of the following items nearby:
Calpol, Paracetamol and Prescription Drugs
*Before you purchase any drugs make sure you read the following section on anti-inflammatory medication
It’s important that if you are normally on any prescription drugs that you have enough to last for two weeks of quarantine. Paracetamol can help to relieve some of the symptoms and so it might be a good idea to have a box or two on hand. Similarly, if you have young children, Calpol can help to alleviate some discomfort.
Coronavirus and ibuprofen: Anti-Inflammatory Medication
There has been a large amount of misinformation circulating regarding the effects that ibuprofen and anti-inflammatory medication can have on those suffering from the virus. The official word is that if you are already taking ibuprofen for an existing condition, don’t stop without consulting your doctor (by phone or email).
If you have flu-like symptoms, including headaches and a fever, it is best to use paracetamol to reduce your temperature. If you have asthma or heart disease or circulatory problems, do not take ibuprofen. There is some evidence linking ibuprofen to more severe illness from other respiratory infections. This is why it’s best to play safe and choose paracetamol instead.
The BBC reported COVID-19 ibuprofen advice from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - Dr Charlotte Warren-Gash says, “It seems sensible to stick to paracetamol as a first choice.” The article makes the point that we simply don’t know yet whether ibuprofen has a particular effect on the severity or length of illness caused by COVID-19 in healthy people or those made vulnerable by underlying conditons or age.
Dismiss Fake News
False “cut and paste” news stories have been spreading on WhatsApp, Instagram and other social media. One false story says that a named doctor from an official-sounding hospital in Toulouse (or Vienna, or Cork) reports that four young people are seriously ill in their hospital with the virus, after taking ibuprofen. Of course well-meaning people are forwarding these stories to loved ones, without being able to check the source. Anything that tells you to “cut and paste” is usually hiding the original source of a bogus story.
Shopping for Self-isolation
What should you put on your shopping list just in case you may need to self-isolate, or in case travel restrictions are imposed where you are? First of all, don’t panic. There are many ways to create cheap and tasty meals from some basic store cupboard ingredients.
On the shopping list try to get a few items that you like from each category just in case of a lockdown.
Store Cupboard / Larder Essentials
- Long life milk
- Pasta sauce
- Stir-fry sauce
- Sundried tomatoes
- Fruit juice
- Fruit squash
- Jam or marmalade
- Cous cous
- Pot barley
- Nuts and seeds
- Breakfast cereal
- Porridge oats
- Dried fruit
- Crackers or rice cakes
- Dried milk
- Cake mix
- Hot chocolate
- Stock cubes
- Herbs and spices
- Baked beans
- Corned beef
- Fish (mackerel, tuna, pilchards)
- Hot dogs
- Meatballs in sauce
- Evaporated milk
- Fresh meat and fish for the week
- Gammon joint for next week
- Fresh vegetables
- Frozen vegetables
- Frozen fruit
- Bread or wraps pizzas
- Sparkling juice
Don’t forget your furry friends!
- Hand Soap
- Liquid hand soap
- Or bars of soap
- Toilet paper or alternatives - see below
- Nappies - disposables or terry towelling
- (If you run out of toothpaste or mouthwash use table salt in a little water)
- Shower gel or bubble bath
- Repeat prescription drugs
- Hayfever tablets if you normally use them
What if I Can’t Get Toilet Rolls and Nappies?
If there are no toilet rolls or nappies for sale in your local shops, it’s time to reinstate the old idea of a nappy bucket in the bathroom. Put a lidded plastic container beside the toilet and prime it with either diluted bleach or disinfectant or diluted Tea tree oil.
Instead of using paper toilet rolls, cut up old towels and your oldest tee-shirts into squares and place beside the toilet for use instead. Do not flush them away. Place the soiled wipe in the container. When you have enough, wash them in the washing machine, dry and reuse them.
Or use a bidet method - which is easy to improvise if you don’t have a bidet at home! Keep a small bowl and a separate small towel for each family member next to the toilet and fill it with warm water before you use the toilet. When you have finished, simply use the water and a little soap to wash yourself. Dry with your own towel.
Using terry nappies used to be the norm, right up until around 30 years ago. Use a square of towelling, fold and pin it into a kite shape, then put it through your baby’s legs and use a giant safety pin to secure it in place. Add plastic pants if you are going out. Improvise by making leg holes in a plastic shower cap if you have to.
Another idea is just to use towelling as a washable nappy liner to make any disposable nappies you have last longer.
Should I Get Hand Sanitizer?
For all those asking themselves “Should I get hand sanitizer” and feeling worried because there is no hand sanitizer left in the shops, the good news is that soap is one of the most effective ways to get rid of any COVID-19 virus that you may have picked up on your hands by touching communal handrails, door handles, shopping trolleys and so on.
You do have to wash your hands very thoroughly to get rid of the virus. The World Economic Forum explains, “Soap dissolves the fatty layer that coats coronaviruses. But you have to wash your hands properly. Washing your hands with soapis one of the simplest and most effective ways of killing off any viruses you may have come into contact with.”
“Soap is particularly good at dissolving the lipid layer that surrounds the virus. It also undoes all the other weak bonds within the virus. Once that happens, the virus effectively falls apart. Washing with water alone is far less likely to shift the virus from the skin surface. Soap contains fat-like compounds called amphiphiles, which are similar to the lipids found in the virus membrane. When soap comes into contact with these fatty substances, it binds with them and causes them to disconnect from the virus. It also forces the virus to disengage from the skin.”
This explains why vigorous hand washing, rubbing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds is recommended to dislodge and break down any viruses on your skin. It’s not just the fingertips and palms that need this washing, but between the fingers, the back of the hands, and the wrists.
So should I get hand sanitizer as well? “Alcohol-based gels are also effective, especially if they contain 60% to 80% alcohol.” These are handy when you are travelling. However, please note, “The antibacterial properties of hand sanitizers will have no effect on viruses, though,” according to the WE Forum.
Hand Sanitizer Recipe
If you wish to make your own hand sanitizer, use a reliable source for the recipe. Not all the recipes online are safe or effective. We turned to the World Health Organisation for expert advice on how to make your own hand sanitizer.
Do I Need a Coronavirus Mask?
You may well be asking yourself, “Do I need a coronavirus mask?” especially if you use public transport. However, masks are mainly useful for health workers.
If you are not a health professional, the World Health Organisation (WHO) advice on coronavirus masks is that hand washing and social distancing are more effective than wearing a mask. Droplets spread the COVID-19 virus and other coronaviruses, so as well as hand washing, you need to:
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow if you cough or sneeze
- Dispose of the used tissue immediately
WHO (World Health Organisation) explains more about masks:
- “If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
- Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
- To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.