DR ELLIE CANNON: Will my wife’s carers be banned from visiting due to the coronavirus outbreak?
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
I am in my 80s and have heart troubles. My wife has Alzheimer’s and lives at home. We’ve been told we should stay put, and not go out, but have carers that come in to help every day. Will they still be able to visit, and what will we do if they can’t?
First, let me offer some reassurance. Even in high-risk groups such as the over-80s and those with heart disease, the majority who contract coronavirus will not have severe illness.
The information from the Chinese cases showed that more than 80 per cent of patients – even the older ones with heart disease – would not suffer serious illness.
A reader asks Dr Ellie Cannon whether his wife’s carer will still be allowed to call to the house during the coronavirus outbreak or will he have to cope with this situation on his own
We have been told to socially distance to protect ourselves.
This means reducing close contact as much as possible, often defined as being within two metres of another person for more than 15 minutes.
You are not in isolation – that is for people or their households who have symptoms. So you could go out for a walk and some fresh air – that would do you good.
And since carers are essential to you and your wife, this kind of contact should not be avoided. They will absolutely still be able to visit you.
More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday…
They will be practising even more stringent hand hygiene than normal, and they will be careful about not coming if they are ill. If they are unable to visit due to isolation, the care agency or local authority team will send back-up. Do not be afraid to ask them to wash their hands when they come in.
I am in my late 40s and take blood pressure medicine. I’m confused about just who is high-risk. Should I be self-isolating?
We are all meant to be practising social distancing. This means having as little as possible physical contact with other people. Isolating means zero contact and is for people who have Covid-19 symptoms or are in the household of someone with symptoms.
Like everyone else, you should be minimising your contact with others. But it is more important for you, as we know that those with high blood pressure are considered more vulnerable.
So you need to be stricter. Every time you avoid coming into contact with other people or going to enclosed spaces where lots of people go, you are reducing your risk.
Stay at home as much as you can. Working from home, for instance, eliminates commuting – and the risk of sitting in an office all day with others who might transmit the virus.
They might be ill with low-level symptoms and unaware they’re spreading the infection, or simply have the virus on their hands after their commute.
There has been some discussion about high-blood-pressure medication and Covid-19.
The European Society of Cardiology has issued a statement to say that all patients with high blood pressure should continue their usual medication as there is no evidence that it is harmful during the infection.
For more information on precisely who is classed as being in high-risk groups for Covid-19, visit nhs.uk or Public Health England at gov.uk.
Family life must go on
Dr Ellie Cannon’s son Jude, pictured on his 13th birthday blew out the candles on his cake by wafting his card in the direction of the flame
As we seem to be heading towards total lockdown, you might think that birthdays, parties and other celebrations are cancelled for the foreseeable future.
But my son Jude’s 13th birthday celebrations last week were proof that you CAN still have a good old celebration. It was a much-needed reminder that we are still the same family, with the same traditions, and it made us feel normal again – for a short while, at least.
And I’d urge you all to do the same.
Intimate celebrations, with just your household, can be just what you need in a time of crisis to remind you what is important. All it takes is a bit of forward planning – buying presents, balloons and wrapping paper online and getting a friend to deliver a cake.
And instead of blowing out candles, Jude, left, wafted them out using a card – to reduce the chances of spreading the virus!
There’s no need to stockpile your pills
Although it may seem like a bit of a joke, stockpiling is no laughing matter – especially when it comes to medications.
Last week I was appalled to see patients ordering extra pills because they had panicked about running out.
Not only is there no need to do this – because we have a strategic method of supply to ensure we don’t run out – but if people buy too much, there will be less easily available for the most vulnerable. If we all order as normal, there will be no problems for anyone.
Medication is not loo roll – ordering in excess can have more serious consequences.
Do not use valuable supermarket home delivery slots if you are fit and healthy
Do you do your grocery shopping online? Well, if you’re young, fit and healthy, I plead with you not to – go out to the supermarket and leave the delivery slots free for those who can’t get out.
Online delivery services are totally inundated with orders, with reports of some waiting up to a month for an available delivery time. This will be disastrous for the thousands who are self-isolating,and are reliant on these services for vital food and medicines.
But if every person who could go out to the shops to get their stash did, we’d have far more delivery slots available for people who really need them. If you’re healthy, there’s no reason why you can’t go shopping – so long as you keep at a reasonable distance from others and wash your hands when you get home.
If you ever fancied visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York City or even the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, now’s your time to do so – from the comfort of your living room.
Do you have a question for Dr Ellie?
Email [email protected] or write to Health, The Mail on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.
Dr Ellie can only answer in a general context and cannot respond to individual cases, or give personal replies. If you have a health concern, always consult your own GP.
One of the most wonderful initiatives to save us from quarantine-boredom comes, surprisingly, from Google.
The tech giant has teamed up with 1,200 museums and sightseeing spots across the globe to bring you virtual tours of world-famous exhibitions.
It means you can enjoy a glass of wine while exploring masterpieces such as the Eiffel Tower.
Enjoy it while it lasts – it’s free!
You’ll find the full list at artsandculture.google.com.
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