COVID-19 information and advice hub

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 an 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.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature
  • loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

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).

 

How can I help stop the spread of COVID-19?

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19:

  • 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
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean 
  • Wear a face mask where required
  • Only get your information from official sources
  • Remain positive – it can be worrying to read about the spread of COVID-19 but following UK Government and Public Health guidance will help you stop the spread of the virus 

 

Is there a treatment?

Researchers around the world have been working on a vaccine for COVID-19 which has now been approved for use in the UK. 

The NHS is currently offering the vaccine to people who are most at risk from COVID-19. At this time, the vaccine is being offered to:

  • people aged 80 and over 
  • people who work in care homes 
  • frontline health and social care workers 

The vaccine will be offered more widely to the following groups as soon as possible.

  • those aged over 75 years
  • those aged over 70 years
  • adults on the NHS shielded patient list
  • those aged over 65 years
  • adults under 65 years with long term conditions 
  • adults who provide regular care for an elderly or disabled person
  • younger adults in long stay nursing and residential settings

People under the age of 65 with no long term conditions will be offered the vaccine at a later date.

You should wait to be contacted about the vaccine. The NHS will let you know when it is your turn to have the vaccination.

 

Is the vaccination safe?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine (which requires two doses) has been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials and gives the best protection against coronavirus.

On the importance of vaccination, Chair of the Huntington's Disease Association Board of trustees and Consultant neuropsychiatrist at a large clinic for people with Huntington's disease, Professor Hugh Rickards has the following message to share:

"I want to ask you to prioritise COVID vaccination for you and all your families and carers as soon as you can. I understand that some of you are nervous about vaccinations for yourselves and your loved ones, but the real risks of COVID are far greater than any theoretical risk from vaccination. We’re consulting widely about this and will be providing information for you as soon as possible."

If you have already had COVID-19 and have antibodies, medical advice is that you should still have the vaccine.

You may have seen in the news recently about two people who responded adversely to the vaccination. This was due to them having a a history of significant allergic reactions. The medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA) has now updated its guidance to inform that any person with a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. If you have significant allergies, you should discuss the vaccine with your G.P. A second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should also not be given to those who have experienced anaphylaxis to the first dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination.

If you have any concerns about getting the vaccination, please discuss this with your G.P.

 

Current COVID-19 guidance

England is currently operating under national lockdown rules (tier 4) with everyone asked to stay at home except for essential activities that cannot be undertaken at home. You can find out more about what you can and cannot do during the national lockdown on the government website

In Wales, there is currently a level 4 alert and national guidance has been issued which advise people to carry out the following: 

  • Stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  • Do not visit other households or meet people you do not live with (unless they form part of your support bubble)
  • Work from home if you can
  • Maintain social distancing and hand hygiene

You will have heard the terms social distancing, self-isolation and shielding used a lot at the moment. All are very important in order to protect you and others from COVID-19 but what are they, and which should you be doing? Find out more below.

What should you do?

Social distancing

Self-isolating

Shielding

COVID-19 support and resources

For people with Huntington's

For carers

For children and young people

For professionals

COVID-19 and the Huntington's Disease Association

Charity operations during COVID-19 pandemic

Urgent COVID-19 appeal

Fundraise for us