Last updated 16 March 2022

This information has been produced jointly by NHS England and the Stroke Association. It is for all stroke survivors in the UK. As the situation changes, we will update these web pages regularly.

The Stroke Association can support you with information and advice on stroke. Call our Helpline on 0303 3033 100. If you need medical advice about coronavirus, please visit the NHS coronavirus webpage.

Stroke is still a medical emergency. So if you have any signs of a stroke, don't wait, call 999. 

Hospitals are ready and equipped to assess and treat stroke patients and to facilitate your long-term recovery. Read our information for people who have recently had a stroke.

You may have seen stories in the media about a possible link between stroke and coronavirus (Covid-19). However, we still believe we need detailed information from larger groups of patients to confirm this link. Our charity is funding vital research in this area to understand coronavirus and its effects. We are also working with stroke researchers and healthcare professionals to continue to analyse new findings when they are published. 

Stroke survivors and Covid-19

Having a stroke means you are at greater risk of getting complications like pneumonia if you have Covid-19. Everyone is different, and if you have other health conditions you also need to check how this affects you.

Covid-19 will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future and as infections rise during seasonal waves, the public is still being asked to follow the latest advice on staying safe. People at high risk from Covid-19 will still need to follow specific advice from the NHS about their health condition.  

Staying safe

  
Advice for everyone

We should all follow the latest government guidance on staying safe from Covid-19. Different advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

You can also read our information on stroke and the coronavirus vaccine.

If you are worried about the lifting of restrictions, the NHS has produced a guide to coping with anxiety about lockdown lifting

People at higher risk from Covid-19

Anyone can get ill from Covid-19, but for some people, including older people and people with health conditions, the risk of getting seriously ill is higher. Some stroke survivors may have shielded at some points during the pandemic due to other conditions. But, you are no longer advised to stay at home and should follow the same guidance as everyone else.

There are still things you can do to help keep yourself safe. If you have a reduced immune response, for example, if you are immunocompromised or have particular cancers, you should follow the advice on keeping safe that you were given before the pandemic. Stroke survivors are eligible and encouraged to get a booster vaccine. Read more on our page about vaccines.

New and seasonal waves of Covid-19: Omicron variant 

It takes time to understand new virus variants, such as Omicron. Researchers are trying to learn more about the severity of new variants and how they respond to vaccines. We know that this may cause anxiety for stroke survivors and we urge you to make use of the support available to you.

As infection rates continue to rise, there are things that you should consider to help protect you from getting seriously ill from Covid-19:

  • Having an effective vaccine is the best way to protect the most vulnerable, our friends and our families. A booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine helps improve the protection you have from your first two doses of the vaccine and offers you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from Covid-19. 

  • There is different guidance for each of the nations, so check the advice that applies to your country: EnglandWalesScotland, and Northern Ireland

If you have symptoms of Covid-19

The main symptoms of Covid-19 are:

  • A new continuous cough.

  • A high temperature.

  • A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).

For advice on what to do if you have symptoms, visit the NHS online information about Covid-19. This will also tell you what to do if you have been in contact with someone who has the virus. You can apply for a coronavirus test online.

Help with symptoms

You don’t need to contact 111 if you have symptoms. But you should use the NHS online 111 service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home.

  • Your condition gets worse.

  • Your symptoms do not get better after seven days.

Call 111 if you can’t use the online service.

Please do not go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital in person. Look online or phone for advice. In an emergency, call 999

Stroke symptoms and Covid-19

If you have coronavirus, and you start having stroke symptoms, call 999. Also, tell the paramedics if you think you have Covid-19.

You can read more about the FAST test for stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) 

If you have stroke symptoms that last a short time, call 999. If the symptoms were a few days ago, call 111. Also, tell the call handler if you think you have Covid-19. Read more about symptoms of TIA

Attending a follow-up appointment for TIA

If you start showing signs of Covid-19 before an appointment to assess your TIA symptoms, contact the clinic or GP by phone or email to let them know. 

What help is available for stroke survivors?

If you are staying at home there are some ways you can get help and support. It is not always easy to find out what is available to you or someone you care for, so we’ve compiled a list of options to try.

  • If you can’t leave home because of a stroke or for other reasons, you may be able to get help, such as deliveries of food, medicine and medical equipment. You can be referred by a professional such as a doctor, pharmacist or social worker. If you have a Stroke Association coordinator, they can refer you.

  • In England, you can request help by calling the NHS Volunteer Responder service on 0808 196 3646. The Red Cross has a Coronavirus Support Line on 0808 196 3651.

  • In Scotland, there is a National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000 with more support listed on the Ready Scotland website.

  • In Northern Ireland, the Advice NI website has a postcode search for help in your area. You can contact the Covid-19 Community Helpline on 0808 802 0020, by texting ACTION to 81025 or emailing Covid19@adviceni.net.

  • In Wales, contact your local authority to ask about community assistance.

  • Local volunteer groups have been set up in many areas. These have different titles such as mutual aid, community response and Covid-19 support groups. The main resource for finding local mutual aid groups is COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK. Contact your local group or local council to ask what help you can get.​

  • Contact your local council to ask what help is available near you.

  • Ask friends, family and neighbours for help such as collecting groceries or medicines. People are often keen to help, so don’t be afraid to ask. Try setting up a group on WhatsApp to link up the main people who can support you.

  • Some supermarkets may continue to prioritise online delivery slots for people in high-risk groups. Contact your usual shop to find out what help they offer.

  • Professional carers are able to visit people at home to provide meals and personal care. But some people are worried about having carers visiting in case it adds to their risk of infection. This can be a difficult decision to make. Carers UK has online resources and advice.

Support from the Stroke Association

We offer support to stroke survivors through our local services and groups, plus our advice and information. We're also working with the NHS to help people recently discharged from the hospital after a stroke.

You can follow the Covid-19 updates on this website, including our practical advice about emotional health and wellbeing. You can also join the online community on My Stroke Guide and connect with other people affected by stroke via the forum. 

Stroke Helpline

Call 0303 3033 100 or email helpline@stroke.org.uk.

Regular opening times:

  • Monday to Friday: 9.00am – 4.00pm
  • Saturday: 10.00am – 1.00pm

Check the Stroke Helpline page for seasonal opening times.

Stroke services

In areas where we are funded, our stroke services offer practical and emotional support. You can use our postcode search to find out if there is a service in your area. If you are already in touch with a Stroke Association Coordinator or being cared for by a community stroke team, you can contact them for support and information.

Stroke support groups

Stroke support groups welcome stroke survivors, carers, family and friends. Many groups are not currently meeting face to face. But some are providing support in other ways, such as online video sessions and telephone calls. You can search for a local group or one that offers online membership.

Here For You telephone support service

Our Here for You service matches you with one of our friendly trained volunteers, who will phone you regularly for several weeks. Our lived experience volunteers have either had a stroke themselves or who support someone who has. Our connect and chat volunteers provide support and talk to you about your interests. Here For You is currently available in 25 languages, including British Sign Language. You can sign up online, or call our Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 for more information and help to sign up.