Shielding - First Steps Towards Normality
Some people who have very specific medical conditions have been advised to shield during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shielding is a stage beyond being advised to take the sort of precautions we have all been used to in lock-down. Those who need to shield because of a medical condition have been advised to stay at home and to only meet with clinical carers or a few other experts to meet their needs. Families of those shielding have also been advised on ways they may be able to help without seeing their shielding family member. It has been a tough road for everyone but for those shielding it’s been a very hard time.
On April 1st in England and Wales shielding will be lifted and the majority of those needing to shield can now take limited steps back to normality, although for a few this will be advised only with great caution. In Scotland shielding remains in place until April 26th, and limited advice has been issued in Northern Ireland (NI) although more general lifting of restrictions in NI is scheduled for 12th April.
We thought that some of the general advice we offered to people coming out of the first lock-down may be useful for those who have been shielding. MS has not been a reason for shielding generally, but a few people who have MS and another more high-risk medical condition or taking certain treatments may have been advised to shield.
In our briefing after the first lock-down we offered some advice to returning to a more normal lifestyle. Suggestions included carefully planning trips out and starting with short trips to avoid getting too fatigued initially. Using a small bag to take essential items with you (masks, hand sanitiser, perhaps snacks and a drink and any medication needed regularly through the day). It would be wise to avoid any crowded places and basic rules on wearing masks and social distancing still apply.
You can now meet with others outside and apart from the obvious pleasure of seeing others, it may be useful to have another person with you on early trips out.
The progress of vaccination in the UK and the impact of the recent lock-down has made it possible to lift many restrictions over time so we can slowly return to normal life. Never-the-less, we advise caution at every step especially for those who have been shielding.