novel coronavirus seems now to have established community transmission in
the UK. This means that people are
catching the virus without having come across someone who had been in a high
risk country such as Northern Italy, Iran or China.
the numbers of people affected in the UK are relatively small as of 11th
March 2020, so the risk of catching this disease is not that high. COVID-19 is best thought of as like the usual
respiratory viruses you can catch in winter and which can cause exacerbations
of your underlying lung condition. In a minority, COVID-19 can also cause
If you have
been in contact with someone who has recently been to a high risk part of the
world or who has tested positive for COVID-19 infection, the Department of Health
and British Lung Foundation websites will give you the advice you need to
follow. Essentially, you should self-isolate for 14 days, and if you develop a
fever or a cough, you will need to be tested for the coronavirus.
the coronavirus is best done by someone coming to your home rather than you
travelling outside of your home, and the 111 helpline should be able to arrange
this for you.
Now that the coronavirus
is established in the UK, if you have underlying chronic lung disease, you will
need to take care to avoid the infection. This will mean avoiding people
as much as possible (that is, not using public transport at busy periods,
avoiding crowds, perhaps working from home) and scrupulous hand cleansing (as
advised by the Department of Health). This is especially important if you
have severe lung disease – that is lung disease that makes you breathless when
walking about – as COVID-19 infection is a particular risk if the lungs are
already badly affected by another disease. If you get symptoms of a cough and
fever, you may need to use the treatments you would normally use if you have an
exacerbation, eg. increase your inhalers, perhaps start antibiotics. You can ring 111 to arrange for someone to
test you for the virus. However, if your
breathing is deteriorating significantly, you may have to come to the hospital
to be treated.