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Charities fear for forgotten thousands still shielding

A survey has revealed that thousands of people living with a lung condition are continuing to hide away even though shielding has been paused in England.

The survey from Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation found that, of the nearly 4,000 people shielding in England, 42% said they are continuing shielding following the change to restrictions on August 1.

When asked how long they will continue to shield for, two-thirds said they will need to be happy the risk of catching coronavirus is low, with 21% saying they will wait until there is a vaccine.

The majority also feel that shielding and lockdown has been lifted too soon with 78% saying they think the government in England has been too quick to lift shielding restrictions. And four in five feel very anxious about shielding lifting.

Emma Rubach, head of health advice at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said the charities will continue to offer vital expert advice and support to people with lung conditions facing difficult choices about how to minimise their risk of coronavirus.

‘Shielding is very much a personal choice, and whatever people decide – we can help.

‘Understanding the local risk of catching Covid-19 may help you feel more in control about whether you go out and what you choose to do.

‘Shielding is a heavy burden and if infection rates in your local area remain low, it could be a good time to venture outside a little more and see friends and family if you’re comfortable doing so.

‘If you feel anxious or depressed, your GP can help you with mental health support. It’s a difficult time for anyone who has been shielding and there’s no shame in seeking help.

‘It’s important to get you back on the right track sooner rather than later and there are a range of things your GP can do to help.

‘It’s vital that everyone continues to follow stringent social distancing, wash your hands often and use a face covering if you can when social distancing is difficult.

‘It’s also important the general public are aware that many people will be heading out for the first time in months.

‘We all have a part to play in protecting the most vulnerable in our society, so we’d urge everyone to follow guidelines and be considerate to those who are leaving their homes for the first time in months.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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