Coronavirus: Advice for people with pulmonary hypertension

Last reviewed: 18th March 2020 at 9.30am

Having PH does not make you more likely than anyone else to catch coronavirus (which is also referred to as COVID-19). For now, it is not known how infection with COVID-19 will affect people with PH. In those who are well it may be a mild illness, but those with significant PH problems are likely to be at risk of more severe illness. It must be remembered though that everybody with PH is a unique individual and many have other co-existing conditions and their circumstances and needs may well vary.

> Look after yourself and keep up with your usual treatments.

> Have a good diet, keep well hydrated.

 > Make sure you are up to date with repeat prescriptions (not just your PH-specific drugs). 

> Regular hand washing is 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 (click here). Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Make sure everyone in your household and work, place of study, worship and social situations are all practising good hand washing techniques.

> The British Lung Foundation does not recommend using a face mask. It will only help protect others from being infected if you already have COVID-19 and are coughing and sneezing.

 > Avoid close contact with anyone with respiratory symptoms like coughs, colds or ongoing chest infections.

> We do not recommend self-isolation for all people with PH but encourage staying at home as much as possible.

> If you become unwell with a high temperature (38 degrees or more) and a new persistent cough, then self-isolate for 7 days (click here). If you are not feeling any better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 coronavirus service (click here). If you are concerned about increasing breathlessness at any point contact your GP for advice. If necessary your GP can contact your PH centre.

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they’re at home for longer than 14 days.

> If you have a Hickman line receiving intravenous therapy for your PH and develop a high temperature (38 degrees or more) contact your dedicated PH centre for advice.

> Avoid places where there is likely to be an increased risk of exposure such as crowds, especially in poorly ventilated areas.

> Make sure you have been fully vaccinated against other preventable infections, including the influenza vaccination.

> Avoid international travel, non-essential air travel and cruise travel.

> Currently there are no blanket recommendations about school attendance. This will depend on your local situations and individual guidance from your PH centre.

> If you are employed, we recommend contacting your employer to consider what reasonable adjustments can be made to your working conditions to help protect you, for example, is it possible to work from home? 

> Continue with your hospital appointments, unless you are contacted by your local teams. It is likely that there will be more telephone-type consultations over the coming weeks.

IBUPROFEN: Specialist advice for people with PH is that you should not be taking ibuprofen regularly anyway (one-off doses may be ok). Please be aware that not everything you read online is true – please obtain your information from reputable sources like the NHS website.

You may have seen stories circulating online about ibuprofen, suggesting it’s dangerous to take it for the symptoms of the coronavirus. Some of these stories are false. You might find this BBC article helpful.

HOMECARE DELIVERIES: Please click here for the latest update


We recommend you visit the NHS website by clicking here 

The British Lung Foundation also offers some good advice. Please click here

It’s important to look after your emotional well-being during this time. Mental health charity Mind provide important advice here