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Managing long-term health conditions during the coronavirus pandemic

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Updated 19th July 2021 - We recommend the coronavirus page on the Government website for more up to date information.

Long-term conditions are illnesses or conditions that can't be cured, at present, but with support they can be managed. Examples of long-term conditions include asthma, diabetes, arthritis, high-blood pressure, epilepsy and some mental health conditions. 

Coronavirus can make anyone ill but people with certain long-term health conditions maybe at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus.  If you have a long-term health condition it is important to follow government advice to reduce your chances of catching the virus.

There are a few steps you can take to help with your long-term health condition during the coronavirus pandemic:

Take control

If you take medication for your long-term condition, make sure you are regularly taking it at the right time, and that you’re taking it in the right way. Speak to your pharmacist if you need help and guidance with your medication. Our pharmacies are open, even during lockdowns to ensure you have access to your medication and any advice needed. If you have medication like inhalers, make sure you take them with you when you leave the house for daily exercise or shopping trips for essentials.

It’s good to get into the habit of checking your medication regularly to make sure you have enough and don’t run out. You can use our LloydsDirect online repeat prescription service for dispensing NHS prescriptions; you can order your prescription online and have it delivered to your door for free*. Or there's our in-store repeat prescription service. 

LloydsDirect

Flu vaccine

If you haven’t already, it is a good idea to get a flu vaccination. For people with long-term health conditions flu can be more serious; an annual flu vaccination can help keep you protected from seasonal flu. Contact your GP or your local pharmacy to get your flu vaccination. 

Vitamin D supplements

From late March to early April until September most people get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight but, during the winter months we do not get enough.  Vitamin D can be found in certain foods such as oily fish, red meat, egg yolks, liver and fortified foods like breakfast cereals.

A dietary supplement is another good source of vitamin D. Vitamin D keeps our bones and muscles healthy; with lockdown and spending a lot of time indoors it's likely we're not naturally getting enough vitamin D from the sun. The NHS advises taking 10 micrograms(400 IU) of vitamin D each day.

If you’re at high risk of coronavirus you may be eligible for free daily vitamin D supplements.

Stop smoking

We all know about the detrimental effects that smoking has on our health but recent studies by Kings College London have shown that smokers are at a higher risk of a wider range of coronavirus symptoms than non-smokers. The act of smoking; holding a cigarette and then touching your lips, may make smokers more likely to catch coronavirus.

If you are a smoker, now more than ever, is a good time to stop. We have stop smoking aids such as Nicorette gums and patches. We also offer a stop smoking service in store, with expert help and advice to help you quit for good.

Look after your mental health

With social distancing in place it is important to look after your mental health, the charity Mind has some helpful resources on looking after your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.  

Stay social

Although, when in lockdown or self isolating, we can’t socialise with anyone outside our household or bubble, there are plenty of digital apps and tools we can use to stay connected to our friends and family. Schedule in regular catch-ups and check ins with the people closest to you - this could be over Facetime, Zoom, Skype or a phone call.

Eat healthily

While our diet and food  choices cannot prevent or cure coronavirus, what we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to fight and recover from infection. A healthy diet supports the immune system and can reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems like obesity. Ensure you’re eating a varied diet with a mix of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains,cut back on salt and limit your sugar intake. Read our healthy eating guide for more information.

Get support

If you need it, remember there is support out there. Local support groups and national charities can provide help. If you're shielding, self-isolating or vulnerable you may be eligible for NHS Volunteer Responder support. The Community Response Volunteers are on hand to help with shopping, delivering prescriptions, chats over the phone and more.

If you're displaying symptoms, you can get a free NHS test or you can request a Coronavirus (COVID-19) swab test kit from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor. 

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References

*Subject to suitability
www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d
www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9118789/Smoking-DOUBLES-risk-hospitalisation-Covid-19.html
www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-tobacco