As the national lockdown restrictions in England continue, it’s important that you’re not only protecting yourself physically but also mentally. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on people’s health in more than just one way. So we’ve pulled together a guide for staying safe and healthy during this lockdown.
Use cleaning products that can kill coronavirus around your home, particularly in commonly touched places. Think about door handles, switches, work tops, and those areas that you first touch when coming into your home from the outside.
It’s important to remember to clean the tools you wipe down the surfaces with. If you use cloths or mops, they need to be germ-free so they don’t spread germs to other surfaces. Reusable cloths should be disinfected or washed at 60C (140F) after each use.
It’s recommended to use disposable cloths or paper towels where possible. You can find out more on how to clean certain surfaces here. Our sister service Chemist Direct has a range of antibacterial cleaning products available that kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses.
The government guidance asks us to leave our houses as little as possible, and the ‘extremely vulnerable’ are asked to be more cautious by avoiding other people as much as possible. This responsibility requires that we all review our everyday practices in order to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. One potential solution is to use online services which can deliver essential food and medicine to your door. Many supermarkets and an increasing number of local food businesses have a home delivery service.
When it comes to getting your repeat prescription medication, especially over the winter and busy Christmas periods, online services such as Pharmacy2U take away the risk, as well as the hard work, by saving you trips outdoors.
Our NHS repeat prescription service enables patients and carers to manage NHS repeat prescriptions online or by using our handy app. This can be for themselves or someone they care for. Medication is then delivered directly to the patient’s door. The app, which also has easy reminders when it’s time to re-order your repeat prescription and order tracking, is available free on Apple and Android devices.
Stay in touch
At a time when many people are restricting who they meet in person and others are self-isolating or shielding, more and more people are using online platforms to stay in touch.
Online video services such as Zoom and Houseparty, or even a Whatsapp video call, are a popular way of keeping that much needed social interaction.
Whether it be with a friend or family member, or from an online platform such as Wysa, it’s important to keep communication methods open and share how you’re feeling, to avoid it all building up in your mind.
Remember you can create a ‘support bubble’ with another household if you live alone. Households within that support bubble can visit each other, stay overnight and visit outdoor public places together – even in lockdown. Find out more.
Stay active and eat a balanced diet
A recent Public Health England (PHE) report indicates that being excessively overweight or obese can increase the risk of severe illness after catching COVID-19. The evidence which has been sourced from both the UK and international community shows that the greater your body mass index (BMI), the greater the risk to your health if you contract coronavirus.
A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered to be healthy. One study featured in the report found that for those people with a BMI of between 35 and 40, the risk of death after contracting COVID-19 increased by 40% when compared to people who aren’t carrying any excess weight. With a BMI over 40, the risk is increased to 90%.
If you want to work out your BMI, the NHS have a handy calculator you can use.
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to exercise we’ve provided a range of exercises for staying safe and active indoors here, from 5 easy chair exercises you could do at your desk, to a handy 10 minute living room workout from our charity partner the British Heart Foundation.
Try to eat a balanced diet. Small changes such as not taking sugar in your tea or swapping chocolate for a healthier snack can help over time. The NHS Eat Well campaign is a great place to start. Also talk to a family member or friend as their support can often be instrumental in successfully losing weight.
Plan ahead. Why not try doing a meal plan or make a focussed shopping list for the week, so you’re not caught short? You should also consider putting exercise in your diary so it doesn’t get forgotten. A brisk walk, taken every day, will do you the world of good.
Make time for you
Spend time reading
Research has shown that reading can improve connections in the brain in a way that digital media can’t, so if you’re keeping busy watching box sets, you should consider picking up a book too. It’s also worth noting that reading is more likely to improve the quality of your sleep, especially if you put your phone and gadgets away an hour before bedtime and read instead.
Do a daily puzzle
Challenging your mind with a daily puzzle is a great way to keep your brain firing. Websites like Suduko.com offer a great place to start, with lots of different options available at different difficulty sessions; and app stores have a huge range of challenging games for your phone or tablet.
Take an online course
Another great way of keeping your mind active is through learning. Now is a good time to challenge yourself and finally pledge to learn something new. Online resources like Future Learn have hundreds of short courses available for you to dive into, including courses on computer programming, graphic design and history. Many museums are also offering virtual visits. For example, you can now take an online tour of the Natural History Museum.
You can find more on what to do if you require healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic here.
As always, please follow NHS guidance and remember – ‘Hands. Face. Space.’