What should extremely vulnerable people do to protect themselves?
If you’re in this group, you need to shield yourself. This means you’re at very high risk of serious illness, so you need to do more than other people to protect yourself. So it’s vital that you minimise any interaction with other people.
If you’re extremely vulnerable, don’t leave you home and avoid coming into contact with others in your household as much as possible. This has been put in place for several weeks. The NHS are contacting people in this group with support and advice and you can find more information on the government website.
What happens if I have a carer?
If you have carers coming in to help you, this is still ok, but they need to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water when they arrive and often during the time they are there. If they develop any symptoms of coronavirus, then they must stay away and not visit you.
If you live with and care for your loved one (this includes dressing, washing and feeding) then you can continue to do so but you need to follow the advice above.
What support is available if I’m extremely vulnerable?
Ask your family, friends, carers, neighbours and community groups for support where you can for food supplies (or order online) and medicines. Many communities have set up schemes to help people who are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable. If you can’t get any help and need support, you can register on the government’s website.
What if I live with other people?
To shield yourself from those you live with there are some things you can do to minimise contact.
- Limit time spent in the shared spaces of your house and keep them well ventilated (open the windows).
- Keep two metres away from those you live with (this is about three steps).
- Use the bathroom before others and clean it afterwards.
- Eat your meals in your room. Use a dishwasher if you have one. Dry items with a separate tea towel.
What should I do if I live with someone who is extremely vulnerable?
If you live with someone who’s extremely vulnerable, you don’t have to follow the same shielding measures. Do what you can though to support who you live with to shield themselves, and be strict about following social distancing measures yourself.
Emotional support for each other
This is undoubtedly a difficult time for us all, whether you’re extremely vulnerable or someone you care about is. It can help to remember that these measures are in place to save lives. Helping your loved one with the things they need and keeping your distance are the most important ways to protect them.
Even if you’re in the same household, you can still keep connected by leaving little notes around the house, for example. If they’re upstairs and you’re downstairs, you could still video phone them and watch the same TV programmes together.
Here are some more ideas about how you can stay connected with your friends and family and how to look after your mental wellbeing at this time.