Emerging from Shielding - A Daunting Prospect
This week sees the final stages of coming out of lockdown and shielding implemented. For anyone who has been shielding due to underlying health conditions this is a real challenge. Each individual needs to feel ready to face a world that has changed fundamentally. Making the decisions that are right for you, while trying to restore some semblance of normality is daunting.
The general guidelines given since the start of lockdown still apply-be aware, be careful and plan all your movements to minimise the risks associated with mixing in the wider community again.
We have previously suggested planning exactly where and how you will go out, how long you wish to stay out, and ensuring that you have all the risk management resources you need. Hand sanitisers are essential, we also suggest taking a small quantity of bar or liquid soap -just in case it is not available at your destination. Attitudes towards masks and face coverings has varied but the most recent scientific advice is that it is an essential part of your kit for being out and about so long is you remain alert and watchful. Wearing a mask may protect you as well as others but it also sends the signal “I’m being careful-please do the same”. There is no room for complacency. Also bear in mind that toilet facilities may not be as available as they usually are.
We also suggest you stage your trips so that you make very short trips, preferably with a close family member or somebody in your “bubble” to start with and gauge your responses to being among others. You will become more aware of how it affects you. If you feel anxious or that you are not ready, wait for a while and when ready, try again.
General rules remain the same -being outdoors is better than indoors, avoid crowds, frequent hand washing is good protection and close contact with people you do not live with should be avoided.
Generally, social distancing is still vital. Many healthcare needs can be dealt by phone or video-calls but if you need to have blood tests or hands-on treatment check with your doctor or local clinical team exactly what precautions you need to take.
Above all stay alert and keep well.