Everyone is at risk of coronavirus, it is very contagious. Most people infected with coronavirus will experience a mild to moderate illness and will recover without needing any specialist treatment. Some people are considered more vulnerable or at higher risk of contracting the disease:
- People aged over 70 years old, even if they are fit and well
- People of any age living with long-term health conditions which mean they would normally be offered a flu jab
- Pregnant women have also been advised to be extra careful
There are also some conditions that put people at particularly high including anyone who has:
- had an organ transplant
- certain types of cancer treatment
- blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- a condition that makes you more likely to get infections
- medicine that weakens your immune system
- a serious heart condition and is pregnant
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Cases of coronavirus are increasing rapidly in the UK, which suggests that it is circulating in the community and spreading from person to person. While everyone is being advised to keep their distance from other people to help stop the spread, some people with underlying health conditions need to take even more precautions to protect themselves. This is called ‘shielding’.
If you are considered a higher risk, you will have been contacted by the NHS.
This will not include all elderly people but they are strongly advised to practice social distancing and only go out if absolutely necessary.
What to do if you are high risk
If you’re considered at higher risk of getting seriously ill from contracting coronavirus, there are extra things you should do to avoid catching it:
- Don’t leave your home – you should not go out to do shopping (including essential food or medicine/prescriptions) or visit with anyone – in your own home or anywhere else
- Avoid close contact with other people in your home as much as possible – try and keep 2 metres (approximately 3 steps) away at all times
- Strictly avoid anyone with displaying coronavirus symptoms
Handwashing and respiratory hygiene
There are general principles you should follow to help prevent the spread of airway and chest infections caused by respiratory viruses, including:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser. Do this after you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, and before you eat or handle food
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home
If you develop symptoms, a continuous cough or fever, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111 straightaway.
For more information and to read the advice in full, visit GOV.UK
What to do if you are pregnant
At this point there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that pregnant women are more likely to contract coronavirus. If you are pregnant and worried about coronavirus, you can get advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.