Your questions about PH & coronavirus Reviewed 2nd August 2021 People with pulmonary hypertension (PH) are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. If you have PH, you no longer need to shield and there are no requirements to follow different rules to the rest of the population. However, you may wish to think particularly carefully about additional precautions you might wish to continue to take. Individuals may choose to limit the close contact they have with those they do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, particularly when disease levels in the general community are high. It is important to respect and be considerate of those who may wish to take a more cautious approach as restrictions are lifted. If you’re worried about restrictions being lifted and getting out and about more, we’ve put together this advice page to help. If you have pulmonary hypertension, it is really important that you have both your first and second dose of the coronavirus vaccine. We have a page dedicated to vaccine questions here What should I do about socialising and meeting others? Restrictions have been removed or loosened across the UK. However, you should continue to consider the risks of close contact with others, particularly if you are clinically extremely vulnerable or not yet fully vaccinated, as the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is generally higher: in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectiousin enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh airwhen COVID-19 disease levels are high in the general community How much you socialise, and who with, is your decision. Take things at your own pace. Do I need to wear a mask if I have PH? Rules around wearing a face covering in public places have changed around the UK. In places where it is no longer a legal requirement, some venues and providers may still choose to make face coverings mandatory on their premises. Wearing a face covering, especially when there is close contact between people in enclosed and crowded spaces will still help to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. If you find it difficult to wear a face covering because of your PH, you do not have to wear one. We have created this bespoke exemption notice that you can carry with you and choose to show if you wish. Some people who find it difficult to wear a mask choose to wear a face shield instead. What should I do about work? Despite the lifting of restrictions around social distancing, employers still have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and others from risks to their health and safety. Your employer should be able to explain to you the measures they have in place to keep you safe at work. Some employers may request employees to undertake regular testing for COVID-19 to identify people who are asymptomatic. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance on protecting vulnerable workers, including advice for employers and employees on how to talk about reducing risks in the workplace. If you need support to work at home or in the workplace you can apply for Access to Work. Access to Work may provide support for the disability-related extra costs of working that are beyond standard reasonable adjustments an employer must provide. Access to Work will prioritise Access to Work applications from disabled people who are in the clinically extremely vulnerable Group. If you have access to occupational health and employee assistance programmes in the workplace, these services can also provide you with a range of health support and advice for your physical and mental health needs. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is available until 30 September. You may be eligible throughout this period, even when shielding is paused, providing your employer agrees. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is also available until 30 September. You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you are sick or incapable of work, either due to coronavirus or other health reasons, subject to meeting the eligibility conditions. If you have concerns about your health and safety at work then you can raise them with your workplace union, HSE or your local authority. Where employers are not managing the risk of COVID-19, HSE and local authorities will take action which can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply with enforcement notices, this could lead to prosecution. The existing employment rights framework provides protections against discrimination, unfair dismissal and detriment. Specific guidance has been published for employers and workers on work absences due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Citizens Advice also has information about your rights at work and how to solve problems in the workplace. If you have concerns you can also get advice on your specific situation and your employment rights by visiting the Acas website or calling the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100. How does coronavirus affect my benefits / What can I claim if I can’t work because of COVID-19? We have a page dedicated to these questions here 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.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.