During the current stay at home restrictions what can I and can’t I do?
I’ve heard about “rescue packs” from GP practices for people with Asthma. Is this true?
We have been made aware of some inaccurate information circulating regarding special ‘rescue packs’ for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
While “rescue packs” for people with illnesses such as COPD do exist, they are usually given to patients as part of their clinical management plan for a flare-up or exacerbation of their COPD, not to prevent COVID19.
If you have Asthma, COPD or any other respiratory condition you are at increased risk and should follow the government’s advice to self isolate by staying at home and restricting contact with other people as much as possible. People with severe asthma should follow the full advice for people considered to be extremely vulnerable which can be found here.
Please do not contact your GP practice for a rescue pack. You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, go to NHS 111 online before doing anything else. Continue to use your preventer inhaler as prescribed and keep your blue reliever inhaler handy in case you need to use it. You can telephone your GP practice or normal nurse if you have any concerns or need other advice about your condition. Please monitor your medication carefully and order new inhalers as and when you need them – but please only order what you need and in plenty of time – you can have someone collect your prescription for you or have it delivered if your pharmacy offers this.
Please help us to help you by only ordering the medication that you need and please do not ask for more than 28 days supply.
What provisions are available for the Fylde Coast’s mental health patients during the self-isolation period?
These uncertain times can be difficult for people with mental health issues and patients can be assured that support can still be accessed when needed. All services are abiding by the latest government advice and therefore services are changing the way they support patients. As with many other health services, appointments can now take place by telephone or by video consultations, so that face-to-face contact is minimised for the safety of everyone. Face to face support, however, is still available for those who really need it and want it.
If anyone is struggling with their mental health we would advise them to access Big White Wall at www.bigwhitewall.com which is a free online mental health support service available 24 hours a day and is completely anonymous.
For further information on changes to services, and access to health and wellbeing support during the Coronavirus outbreak, go to the service changes page.
What should I do if I am, or know someone that is extremely vulnerable from COVID-19? What is ‘Shielding’?
The Government and NHS has issued some guidance for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities, either for the elderly or persons with special needs.
Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. We are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (listed below) which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.
People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
- Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
How can I stop the spread of COVID-19? What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is what the Government and NHS are advising people to do to avoid contact with others and help prevent the virus from spreading.
It is why many people are now being told to work from home and many social venues such has restaurants and clubs have been closed.
Everyone, especially those at risk of more serious illness if they catch COVID-19 are being asked to distance themselves from other people as much as possible.
What is self-isolating?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you need to completely stay away from other people to prevent the spread of the virus.
You’ll need to stay at home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.
Staying at home means you should:
- not go to work, school or public areas
- not use public transport or taxis
- not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
- not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
What should I do if I think I have COVID-19
What if I have an emergency but am self-isolating due to symptoms of COVID-19?
Ideally you would need to go through NHS 111 for advice, especially if the emergency is related to your COVID-19 symptoms, however if it is a life-threatening emergency then please call 999 but make sure you tell the controller that you are in self isolation.
Can I still make a GP appointment
Yes you can.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (continous cough or a temperature over 37.8C) then please DO NOT call your GP practice. Instead visit NHS 111 online or call NHS111.
If you need a GP appointment for anything other than COVID-19 then please call your GP as normal or use the online booking system if it is available to you.
For some appointments you may be asked to have a telephone consultation initially to avoid you having to go to the practice. You may even be asked to have your consultation via video link and this will be explained to you if it is possible.
Where do I find more information?
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. (WHO definition)
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. (WHO definition)