20 Apr Preventing Covid-19 if you Have a Lung Condition
The global Covid-19 pandemic is a worrying time for all of us but particularly people living with lung conditions like asthma and COPD. If you are one of them, it is important to follow the latest government guidelines (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus) and to do whatever you can to protect yourself from becoming infected with Coronavirus. The government lists people with severe long-term lung conditions, like severe asthma, severe COPD and cystic fibrosis, as being at particularly high risk.
Symptoms to look out for
If you have a weakened immune system as a result of a long-term condition you are more at risk of developing severe symptoms.
If you suspect you may have become infected and are not sure if you need to self-isolate, contact the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. You should not go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital.
How to protect yourself
Here are some of the ways that you can act to prevent infection.
1. Stay at home –
This is important for everybody right now to protect the NHS and help to save lives. You should only leave the house to shop for basic essentials such as food and medicine, to travel to and from work if you can’t work from home, to do one form of exercise a day (either alone or with another member of your household) or for medical needs or to support someone at very high risk. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you should self-isolate for seven or 14 days depending on your household (if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days after you first got symptoms).
2. Wash your hands –
You should do this often throughout the day, particularly when you come in from outside. Use soap and warm water and continue for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. If you cough or sneeze, use a tissue then throw the tissue into a bin and wash your hands. Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that you touch.
3. Keep 2 metres apart –
If you have to go out of your house for essential food, medicines or exercise, maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) between you and other people.
4. Social shielding –
For the most vulnerable, which includes people with long-term lung conditions who are at high risk from the virus, the government is urging you to rigorously follow social shielding measures to keep yourself safe. If you have already received a letter or text from the government, follow the social shielding guidance within it.
Hospitals and GPs are currently reviewing the list of people who are very vulnerable and more letters are being sent. If you have not yet received a letter, follow social distancing and stay at home advice that is being given to everyone. If you subsequently receive a letter, follow the social shielding advice. If you receive a letter you should register with the government to tell them if you need coronavirus support, such as getting food packages or medications. Social shielding means staying at home at all times and avoiding face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter. The government’s social shielding advice is
5. Hand washing –
This is an important way to prevent the spread of the virus. If you are social shielding, anyone coming into your house (for example, for healthcare support) must wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds when they arrive and often when they are there too.
6. Manage your asthma during Covid-19 –
If you have severe asthma it is important to continue your normal management of the condition. Use your preventer inhaler daily as prescribed to cut your risk of an attack and also carry your reliever inhaler. The organisation asthma.org has an online asthma plan that you can download and use to manage your symptoms. If you don’t already have a peak flow meter, obtaining one from your GP can help you to track your asthma and tell the difference between your normal symptoms and Covid-19.
7. Keep active –
It is important whether you are socially distancing or social shielding to do whatever physical activity you can to support your physical and mental health. Staying healthy by eating healthy meals and drinking enough water is also important.
As with other private health providers, we are working to support the NHS right now and will be unavailable to provide specialist advice and treatment until at least the end of May.
If you become unwell with suspected Covid-19 it is important to follow the correct government guidelines to support yourself and those around you.