Last reviewed 12 August 2021

Advice on staying healthy

If you have had a stroke, or have health conditions linked to stroke, you can help yourself stay well by following the main advice about the virus.

Avoiding infection

The best way to stay healthy is to follow all the advice about avoiding infection. Wash your hands regularly, using hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your face, and use a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes. And avoid contact with people who have symptoms.

Washing your hands if you have a weak arm

In this video, a stroke survivor with one weak arm shows how she washes her hands.

1.   Put both hands in the sink.

2.   Collect a little water from the tap (make sure the temperature of the water is ok).

3.   Rub the soap/squirt some handwash onto the affected hand and build up some lather.

4.   Squish the unaffected palm and fingers together building up a good lather, using your thumb to help.

5.   Now involve the affected hand: slip the unaffected hand underneath the affected one and mix the lather of both hands washing the palm and back fingers. The backs of both hands should be well lathered.

6.   Move the front and back of the unaffected hand against both sides of the other hand.

7.   Relax the affected hand, and move the fingers of the other hand through the fingers of the affected hand.

8.   Whilst doing this, clean around the nails of the affected hand.

9.   Using the thumb of the unaffected hand to clean the unaffected fingernails – turn fingers inwards to help with this.

10.   Turn on tap with unaffected arm and rinse both hands, moving the right against the left and vice versa to rinse soap off both hands. 

Look after your health

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

  • You might need regular appointments to manage a health condition like diabetes. It may be possible to postpone the appointment, or attend by phone or video call. Try to access your medical appointments remotely if possible. Contact the health professional involved in your care to ask what you should do. Don’t go to an appointment if you have any symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19).

  • Keep taking any medication you are prescribed. If you have questions about medication, contact your pharmacist.

  • You can also help stay fit and well by eating a healthy, balanced diet and being as active as possible. Read our tips on getting moving after a stroke, including some ideas for being active in your home.

  • Ask your GP or pharmacist about the free flu vaccine. It helps you avoid serious complications if you’ve had a stroke, have a health condition or you’re over 65. It can also help reduce pressure on the NHS. Visits to the GP surgery or pharmacy are carefully organised to keep you safe from coronavirus.

Getting individual advice

If you have any questions about your own health, it’s a good idea to seek individual advice. If you have a health problem other than Covid-19, call your GP or use the 111 online service. If you can’t go online, call 111. Call your pharmacist if you have questions about medication.

If you have questions about stroke or want someone to talk to, you can call our Helpline on 0303 3033 100.

Resources if you have a health condition

The links below will help you find advice and information about dealing with Covid-19 if you have health conditions including:

You can also find advice on managing anxiety and looking after your mental health.