COVID-19 information and advice

We’ve all seen the headlines about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our priority is supporting anyone affected by Huntington’s disease. We have gathered information on these pages from official UK government and public health sources. At times like this, it is vital to only share information that has been approved by official sources.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. It is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China that has spread in people since December 2019.

How is COVID-19 spread?

As with new viruses, researchers around the globe are working hard to understand Covid-19. Similar viruses are spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Covid-19 may spread when people are carrying the virus but are not showing any of the symptoms (cough, high temperature). People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).

Stay at home to stop COVID-19 spreading

 

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example, food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

COVID-19 dos and don’ts

Do

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Only get your information from official sources
  • Remain positive – it can be worrying to read about the spread of Covid-19 but following the steps above may help you stop the spread of the virus

Don’t

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • Share false information about the virus

If you or a loved one has Huntington's disease and must interact with NHS staff or emergency services, you can use our 'COVID-19 letter for NHS and emergency services' to explain what Huntington's is and how COVID-19 can affect someone with the disease. 


Self-isolation helps stop spreading if you have symptoms

 

Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or live with someone who does.

This is called self-isolation.

If you are self-isolating, you must:

  • not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home

You can use your garden, if you have one.

 

How long to self-isolate if you have symptoms?

 

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you'll need to self-isolate for 7 days.

After 7 days:

  • if you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate
  • if you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal

You do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after 7 days. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

 

If you live with someone who has symptoms

 

If you live with someone who has symptoms, you'll need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.

If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

If you get symptoms, self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you're self-isolating for longer than 14 days.

If you do not get symptoms, you can stop self-isolating after 14 days.

 

Self-isolation if you're high risk

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION - Clarification of COVID-19 ‘high-risk’ Huntington’s texts/letters

If you're at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, there are extra things you should do to avoid catching it.

These include:

  • not leaving your home – you should not go out to do shopping, pick up medicine or exercise
  • stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people in your home as much as possible
  • Ask friends, family or neighbours to pick up shopping and medicines for you. They should leave them outside your door

If you need help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food, you can register to get support.

 

If you have symptoms and live with a vulnerable person

 

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

 

Self-isolation dos and don'ts

Do

  • try to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from each other
  • avoid using shared spaces, such as kitchens or bathrooms, at the same time as each other
  • open windows in shared spaces if you can
  • clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example by wiping the surfaces you have touched
  • use a dishwasher if you have one – if you do not have one, use washing-up liquid and warm water and dry everything thoroughly

Don't

  • do not share a bed, if possible
  • do not share towels, including hand towels and tea towels

For more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

After self-isolation

 

You still need to stay at home when you finish self-isolating, but you can go out for essential trips such as buying food.

Read the COVID-19 advice for everyone.

 

COVID-19 and mental health

 

During this time, you may be bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. Everyone reacts differently to events, and changes in the way that we think, feel and behave vary between different people and over time. It’s important that you take care of your mind as well as your body and to get further support if you need it.

Some important things to consider if you feel your mental health may be wavering include - 

  • Trying to connect with others
  • Talking about your worries
  • Managing difficult feelings
  • Setting a daily routine
  • Doing things you enjoy
  • Take time to relax and focus on the present

Comprehensive guidance on mental wellbeing has been published by Public Health England. The full guidance document can be found at Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

Treatment for COVID-19

Researchers are currently working on a vaccine for COVID-19 but at present there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses. If you follow official guidelines as above it will help to alleviate symptoms and minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

Families and children

There is so much for families to think about during these unpredictable and turbulent times and it’s important to remember how children and young people are affected. We understand that children are fearful of passing on the virus to other family members and how this could impact on their health. Though our instincts can be to shield and protect our children from scary things, it’s important to talk openly and honestly about COVID-19 to ensure that children have a forum to express their fears so you can help manage them.

Even though our Youth Engagement Service is unable to provide face-to-face visits, it is still operating from the office. You can email, call or text James to discuss any concerns you have for your children and he can offer virtual support through Skype should anyone want to connect with him. This is a link for young people from BBC News Round explaining COVID-19. 

Email – james.o'connor@hda.org.uk

Mobile – 07718 424905

James is also hosting daily group video calls for children and their families to offer support and advice. Click here to find the call that's for you and don't miss out on the quiz every Friday!

COVID-19’s effect on the Huntington’s Disease Association

Staff

Currently, our head office is functioning as usual. We are open 9 am – 5pm for support, information and advice. As people with Huntington’s disease are considered in the vulnerable category, for their protection, our Specialist Advisers are postponing all house calls and face-to-face visits. This is to try and minimise the risk to people affected by Huntington’s. You can still access our Specialist Advisers via phone and other online communications.  We are here to support anyone affected by Huntington’s disease and will continue to do so.

Huntington’s Disease Association events

Due to the current circumstances, we have had to take the decision to postpone our Understanding Huntington's disease - a certificated course for professionals on the 19-21 May 2020.  If you have booked onto this please do let us know and we will work with you to minimise any inconvenience.

Fundraising events

Unfortunately, many fundraising events have been cancelled or postponed due to the virus. This includes –

Please use the links above to visit each of the event organiser’s pages for more information.

As the leading organisation across England and Wales supporting people affected by Huntington’s disease our work continues – we will continue to support people with Huntington’s disease and we ask our fundraisers to continue to show your support by organising alternative fundraising activities. Please get in touch with our fundraising team to discuss other ways in which you can fundraise for our work. We are hugely grateful for your all you do and your support is more vital to us than ever before in the current climate.

 

Fundraise for us from home

 

Fundraising is extremely important and helps us provide our Huntington's disease services. There are many ways you can help us raise money during this difficult time which would be much appreciated. 

 

Further information and advice

If you are caring for someone affected by Huntington’s disease please follow all the steps listed above. You can also find more in-depth information on COVD-19 and caring via our ‘Tips for carers on protecting those with Huntington's from COVID-19’ infographic.

There are lots of official resources where you can access additional advice –

If you are affected by Huntington’s disease and are concerned about COVID-19 or would like further advice, please contact us on 0151 331 5444 or email info@hda.org.uk