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Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

The importance of shielding during the COVID-19 pandemic

The importance of shielding during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on March 26th, 2020

For many people who catch coronavirus, the symptoms will be mild – a fever and a cough for example. Some may not even experience symptoms at all. However, for others the effects of coronavirus can be extremely serious. In the UK alone, more than a million people are at high risk of needing hospital treatment if they catch coronavirus. Therefore, the latest government advice is to ‘shield’ this high risk group by asking them to stay at home for the next 12 weeks at least.

Who is classed as ‘high risk’?

Those most at risk include those who:

  • Have had solid organ transplants.
  • Have lung cancer and are receiving active chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
  • Have cancers of the blood or bone marrow, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment.
  • Have severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma and severe COPD.
  • Have rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell.
  • Have severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis).
  • Are receiving immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer.
  • Are receiving 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.
  • Are receiving immunosuppression therapies that significantly increase risk of infection.
  • Are pregnant with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired).

What is shielding?

Put simply, shielding means taking extra precautions to protect those with underlying health conditions. This includes asking them to stay at home at all times. Spending time in their garden, if they have one, is allowed, but they should not leave the house to visit shops or public places.

They should also avoid all face-to-face contact with people outwith their household, and there should be no visitors to the house, other than essential carers.

What about those who live with someone classed as high risk?

  • Anyone living in the same home should ensure they are practising strict social distancing every time they leave the home.
  • Inside the home, they should try to stay at least 2m from the high risk person at all times and limit any time spent in the same room.
  • If you can, use a separate bathroom and bedroom. If not, ensure they are cleaned thoroughly and regularly.
  • All shared rooms such as the kitchen and lounge should be well ventilated – keep a window open for example.
  • Clean all surfaces such as door handles, taps and handrails thoroughly and regularly.

What to do if you experience symptoms of COVID-19

If you are classed as high risk and you start to experience symptoms such as a fever or a new and persistent cough, call NHS 111 immediately. It is vital you do not visit YourGP, or any other clinic or hospital as this could potentially put others at risk.

 

To be able to attend a clinic where I am very obviously accepted by everyone there is a great start. To follow it with an hour with Dr Myskow listening, guiding and supporting me and my loved ones as I began to live my life for real as a Transman has made me feel less afraid or isolated

Liam B – Tyne and Wear – Lyndsey

YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

Independent Healthcare Team
Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
0131 623 4342 | hcis.clinicregulation@nhs.net