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Now more than ever, it's important to take care of your and your family’s health.

We’ve joined together with partners from across Greater Manchester and beyond to bring you tips and advice to help you stay safe and well during this challenging time.

Keep Safe has produced easy read information about staying well during the coronavirus outbreak.

Doctors of the World and the British Red Cross have versions of the Government’s written advice in many languages, and videos to watch online.

 

If you are ‘extremely vulnerable’ or ‘shielding’

People with some specific medical conditions are at the greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If this is you, you should have received a letter or message from your GP saying you need to ‘shield’.

You should continue to take particular care.

But you can now leave home if you wish, as long as you are able to maintain strict social distancing. This means keeping 2 metres apart from other people

If you do choose to spend time outdoors, this can be in groups of up to six people. A group can include both members of your own household and people who live elsewhere.

If you live alone, or are a single parent of a child or children aged under 18, you can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. This means you can spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance

The latest national advice and information is available on the 'shielding' pages of the gov.uk website.

Support is available to you. You’ll be able to ask for help if you need it - for example, with getting essential supplies or your basic care needs.

You should register online, even if you do not need additional support now.

You can register yourself, or on behalf of someone else.

Help is also available from our local community hubs.

Easy read information on ‘shielding’ is available from Keep Safe.

Some changes on the advice if you are 'shielding' are coming into effect on Saturday 1 August. For further details, see the government announcement

 

Ageing

The Greater Manchester Ageing Hub has ideas and suggestions to help us stay healthy and active. 

You can also download a Keeping Well at Home booklet (pdf) with practical tips on how older people can keep their mind active and engaged.

Drugs

If you need treatment for drug addiction, you're entitled to NHS care in the same way as anyone else.

With the right help and support, it's possible for you to get drug free and stay that way.

Find your local drug treatment service by visiting the Frank website or calling the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600.

Cancer

If you are undergoing or have recently completed treatment for cancer, you can call The Christie Hotline with any concerns or worries. It is available 24 hours a day, on 0161 446 3658.

An additional coronavirus helpline is providing dedicated support for patients and relatives where treatment has been paused or stopped or visits are not permitted due to infection risks. Call 0161 956 1900 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week.

Further information and advice on coronavirus for people with cancer is available from The Christie.

If you are worried about any potential symptoms of cancer, contact your GP.

Alcohol

Many of us are currently feeling worried or anxious. You may be turning to alcohol to feel more at ease. But developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol can have serious long-term effects on your physical and mental health.

The NHS offers information to help you keep track of your drinking.

During the coronavirus outbreak, people are being encouraged to find a new happy hour, with other ways of relaxing at home.

If you are pregnant the advice remains that there is no safe time or no safe amount to drink. Greater Manchester’s Drymester campaign is helping parents to be go alcohol free.

If you have become physically dependent on alcohol and need to stop drinking completely, stopping without support could be harmful. You should get advice about this and about any medicine you may need to do this safely. Find services near you.

Diet

What we eat and drink is really important for our health. It keeps our immune system strong and gives us the energy to do things we enjoy.

The NHS website has tips on how you can eat well on a budget.

When shopping for food you should maintain a 2 metre distance between yourself and others, and only buy what you need.

You should not leave your home to buy food – or for any other reason - if you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus. You should order it online or by phone, or ask someone to deliver it to your home.

National guidance on food during the coronavirus outbreak is available from the government website.

Greater Manchester has over 200 food providers and food banks that can help if you are struggling to provide food for yourself or your family.

If you are vulnerable or ‘shielding’, our local community hubs can also help.

If you have a child who receives free school meals, you can receive a £15 weekly shopping voucher to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus. Your child’s school may provide meals for collection or delivery themselves. Contact the school for details or read guidance online.

Bite Back 2030 has provided some useful tips and ideas for making your £15 voucher go further.

If you are aged 65 or over, the Greater Manchester Nutrition and Hydration Programme has new information on eating and drinking well during the coronavirus outbreak.

Parents, carers, children and families

Greater Manchester is working together to support parents and carers with children at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) website has useful advice and information.

You can find helpful information on returning to school, college or nursery in our 'safety' section.

The Greater Manchester mental health hub's 'back to school or college' section brings together a wide range of trusted wellbeing resources.

Environment

In these challenging times, many of us are more aware than ever of the importance of nature – especially the wildlife we can see in our gardens and from our windows.

A new campaign, My Wild Garden, has been launched in Greater Manchester to help you reconnect with the wildlife in your garden, yard or balcony.

Stay in touch with nature, while staying at home.

 

Serious illness

While people’s minds are on coronavirus, it remains important to reach out to your GP for advice on any concerning health symptoms. You may still be referred to hospital if these need further investigation.

You should take particular notice of persistent and unexplained symptoms such as:

  • lumps, bumps or swelling
  • blood in your pee or your poo, or coughing up blood
  • unexplained pain
  • a change in your bowel habit
  • extreme tiredness
  • weight loss
  • a cough lasting over 3 weeks, especially if you have ever smoked

You can use the Greater Manchester Service Finder to find health services near you.

Pregnancy

Maternity care is essential to reduce complications in mothers and babies. Maternity teams are all still working to provide this care for you and your baby.

There is a potential risk of harm to you and your baby if you don’t attend your appointments.

Information about maternity services and care for pregnant women and families expecting a baby is available from My Birth My Choice.

If you need any help collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies or just want a chat over the phone, NHS volunteers in your area can help. Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) or contact your local community hub.

If you are pregnant, you must quit smoking for your baby. Specialist support is available across Greater Manchester and from your midwife to give you the help you need to quit during pregnancy.

And when it comes to alcohol, there's no safe time and no safe amount to drink during pregnancy. Greater Manchester’s Drymester campaign is helping parents to be go alcohol free.

Physical activity

It’s important to keep moving while staying at home.

Moving more reduces the risk of serious health conditions and diseases. It also helps keep your body strong and flexible, and alleviate conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety.

In children, moving more helps them to develop healthily.

GreaterSport has pulled together a wide range of things that you, your family and you colleagues can do to keep moving during COVID-19.

Dementia United and its partners also have information on staying active to keep your body strong and flexible as you age, and help alleviate depression, stress and anxiety. 

Pharmacies

Community pharmacies continue to be open during the coronavirus pandemic. But opening hours may change so they are able to offer the best service to the public.

To contact your nearest pharmacy, use the Greater Manchester Service Finder.

If you have received a letter or message from your GP about a health condition, and are ‘shielding’ at home, any prescription items should be collected for you by a family member, friend or relative.

A volunteer from your local community hub can also help, or your pharmacy should offer a home delivery option.

Sexual health

It is important to consider your sexual health if you live with your partner:

  • condoms can still be purchased online, through your local pharmacy or supermarket
  • your GP may be able to give you a longer prescription than normal for the pill if you have had your blood pressure checked in the past 12 months and your BMI is ok

Some sexual health services are not running in the same way as they were before the coronavirus outbreak.

But there are still emergency options and urgent services available for your sexual health if needed:

  • if you need the morning after pill, most local pharmacies or your GP can help
  • advice and support with an unplanned pregnancy are available from Sexwise
  • if you think you have a sexually transmitted infection, your GP or local sexual health service may still be able to test you
  • an HIV test can be arranged online
  • if you have been sexually assaulted, help is available on the NHS website
  • you can report a rape or assault to the police on 111, or 999 if it is an emergency, and contact the National Rape Crisis helpline on 0808 802 9999

You can find your local sexual health service through the Greater Manchester Service Finder. Please note service times might be different at the current time.

If you’re under 25, advice is available from Brook and Sexwise.

LGBT Foundation is offering phone support, online workshops and free condoms and lube. Contact them via email.

BHA for Equality is offering telephone support for Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people. Email them for a call back.

If you’re living with HIV or think you might be at risk, information is available from the British HIV Association. You can also contact George House Trust for support, on 0161 274 4499 or by email.

Smoking

If you’re a smoker and worried about the risks of coronavirus then now is a good time to think about stopping smoking.

Smokers are more likely to have poor lung health or existing lung conditions which could increase their chances of serious illness from COVID-19.

Smokers in Greater Manchester can visit YouCanGM.org, to find information, advice and details of local stop smoking support services. You can also call the GM smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044.

Advice and support, as well as stop smoking medicines are still accessible during this period. If you’re isolating at home, local or NHS volunteers can help collect and deliver prescriptions.

If you are pregnant, you must quit smoking for your baby. Specialist support is available across Greater Manchester and from your midwife to give you the help you need to quit during pregnancy. 

Online and digital services

You can still access NHS services from the comfort of your own home.

The NHS health at home webpage makes it easier to get NHS help online.

Visit for access to a wide range of services including:

  • contacting your GP
  • ordering repeat prescriptions
  • managing long-term conditions

Adults and children across Greater Manchester can also access free digital services and online support to support mental health and wellbeing.