Managing the Loosening of Protective Restrictions After Shielding Self-Isolation.
From June 1st 2020 the measures for easing the rigorous shielding restrictions advised for those who are most at risk of Covid-19 due to underlying health conditions during the current pandemic were cautiously revised.
Many people have been shielding by self-isolating for many weeks. Reliance on those helping them during this time has been part of everyday life and letting go of this dependence needs careful consideration.
Whether you are dreading the prospect or keen to return to some semblance of “normal life” navigating the process of re-joining society, even in a very limited way, needs some thought and planning.
We suggest some ways of preparing for coming out of long-term lock-down as safely as possible. In England, most of the population can now go out meet in groups of no more than 6. Those who have been in lock down for longer because of underlying health conditions can now leave the house and meet, but with only one other person.
Planning to go out as safely as possible:
Plan exactly what you will do and how long you will stay out.
Start with short trips.
If you are meeting somebody plan your meeting place to avoid crowds or being too close to others. Meeting out of doors is safest.
Have a “leaving your home” kit ready. We suggest taking a small bag that you can carry easily with hand sanitiser or wipes, and any medications you may need. You may wish to add a face mask and protective gloves to your kit but remember the best protection is constant thorough hand washing, avoiding touching your face mouth and eyes, and keeping social distancing.
Gloves and a mask may give you false confidence and touching your face with gloves is just as risky as without! Add a small bottle or liquid soap or a small bar of soap if appropriate.
Take a drink and perhaps some snacks with you. Do not be tempted to visit mobile drink or food vans yet.
You may feel fatigued so limit your route and the time you plan to spend out in the early stages of being more socially active.
The recent warm weather may have affected you-many people who have MS find hot weather difficult. Again, plan for possible loss of endurance and take the process of going out in easy stages.
Above all stick to the basic rules, social distancing, hand washing and stay alert to risk. Give yourself time to gain confidence.
Please note these are advisory suggestions, they are no guarantee of safety but may help you to face the next stages of living with Covid-19 and re-integrating with society with confidence and as safely as possible. .