Your questions about PH & coronavirus Reviewed 17th September 2020 at 8.10am Are people with pulmonary hypertension classed as extremely clinically vulnerable? After the National PH Centres Directors’ submission to NHS England, in April people with pulmonary hypertension were recognised in the extremely vulnerable group of patients. How long do I need to shield for? People living in the UK are no longer required to shield and how much you do go out is now down to personal choice. The government has produced this easy-read guide to shielding that provides simple and clear information relating to how things currently stand. Do I need to wear a mask? If you have pulmonary hypertension or another condition that makes wearing a face covering difficult, you do not have to wear a face covering. According to the UK Government website, “people are not required to prove they are exempt and it is for individuals to choose how they would want to communicate this to others”. We have created an exemption notice that you can carry with you and choose to show if you wish. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE NOTICE The British Lung Foundation has the following advice about face coverings: Wearing a face covering may reduce the risk of spreading infection by protecting people you come into contact with. Face coverings do not replace social distancing. People with breathing problems and children under 2 or others who may find it difficult should not use face coverings. If you feel comfortable wearing a mask when you’re in a public place and it’s hard to keep 2 metres away from other people, and you choose to wear a mask, please use a cloth covering and not a mask designed for clinical use. The NHS needs these supplies. You should also wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. What should I do about going back to work now shielding has come to an end? You should follow social distancing carefully and only go to work if your workplace has measures in places to keep you safe. The government has issued these guidelines for employers to ensure their places of work are ‘Covid secure’. This guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides more accessible information that is useful for employees as well as employers. If you are able to continue working from home, your employer should support you to do this. We advise you to talk to your employer as soon as possible about plans to help you return to work. If your employer is not understanding about your needs, or about any concerns you may have, please show them this web page. You can get advice on your specific situation and your employment rights by visiting the Acas website or calling the Acas helpline, 0300 123 1100. How can I minimise the risk of spreading or contracting coronavirus? Regular hand washing is still the most effective thing that you can do to decrease your risk of infection. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, in particular after being in public places. Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Make sure everyone around you is practising good hand washing techniques.Carry hand sanitiser with you outside of the home and use it regularly, especially if you are unable to wash your hands.Observe social distancing in line with government advice (ideally 2 metres)Make sure you have been fully vaccinated against other preventable infections, including the influenza vaccination.Eating a good diet, getting enough sleep and taking regular exercise (within your capabilities) all help to ensure you stay as well as possible. Can I get tested for coronavirus if I think I have symptoms? Yes. Everyone in the UK is now able to be tested for coronavirus if they are experiencing symptoms. The main symptoms of coronavirus are: A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. This link explains how to go about getting a test.