Last updated 27 March 2020
We have put together this information on stroke and coronavirus (COVID-19) in partnership with NHS England. It is for all stroke survivors in the UK.
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.
To find out what we’re doing as an organisation, including pausing all our events and groups in the community, you can read this note from our Chief Executive Juliet Bouverie.
Stroke survivors and coronavirus (COVID-19)
Having a stroke means you are at greater risk of getting complications like pneumonia if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). Everyone is different, and if you have other health conditions, you also need to check how this affects you.
Staying at home and away from others
Stay at home: advice for everyone
We all need to follow the latest government guidance on staying home. This tells you how long to stay at home, and what activities you can do outside the home if necessary. This advice will change over the next few weeks and months.
People at increased risk of complications from coronavirus (COVID-19)
Some people are at greater risk from complications, including stroke survivors. Stroke survivors may also belong to some of the other higher-risk groups. These include people aged 70 or over, and people with health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. There are details of the types of condition that put you at higher risk in this guide to social distancing.
It’s important for stroke survivors to follow the latest advice on staying home and away from other people.
People who work are being asked to work from home where possible. If you can't work from home because of the nature of your job, and you are unable to carry on working, help is available. If you are employed, speak to your employer. You can find information about employment and financial support for all workers and people on low incomes.
Extremely vulnerable people and shielding
If you’re in an extremely vulnerable group, you will be contacted about what to do. This includes people with severe respiratory disease, people with heart transplants and those on medication that affects your immune system.
You will need to follow the latest government guidance for people in the extremely vulnerable group. This explains the steps you need to take to reduce your risk of infection, known as shielding. If you live with others, you might need to separate yourself and follow advice on how to stay safe at home.
You can register as extremely vulnerable to get extra support such as help with delivery of essential supplies and medicine. If you're not sure if you belong to this group, register to find out if you can get help.
If you think you belong to this group and have not been contacted by 30 March, get in touch with your GP or the hospital team treating you.
Public Health England has produced Easy Read information about extremely vulnerable people and shielding.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
- A high temperature.
- A new, continuous cough.
For advice on what to do if you have symptoms, visit NHS online information about coronavirus (COVID-19). This will also tell you what to do if you have been in contact with someone who has the virus.
Read the latest guidance on how to self-isolate, and how long for.
Help with symptoms
You don’t need to contact 111 if you have symptoms. But you should use the NHS online coronavirus 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 coronavirus (COVID-19)
If you have coronavirus, and you start having stroke symptoms, call 999. Also tell the paramedics that you think you have coronavirus (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 that you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19). Read more about symptoms of TIA.
Attending a follow-up appointment for TIA
If you start showing signs of coronavirus (COVID-19) before an appointment to assess your TIA symptoms, contact the clinic or GP by phone or email to let them know. Don’t go in person. You may be able to have a later appointment. Or you may be able to have a remote appointment by phone or video call.
What help is available for stroke survivors?
Stroke survivors and carers can follow our updates about coronavirus (COVID-19) on this website. If you’re in touch with a Stroke Association Coordinator, or being cared for by a community stroke team, contact them for information.
You can find information and practical advice about life and wellbeing after stroke on our website, including tips from our Helpline staff on managing loneliness and isolation. Our online self-management tool, My Stroke Guide, lets you speak to other stroke survivors and carers online. And if you want someone to talk to, call our Helpline on 0303 3033 100.
Carers UK provides some great advice for carers about coronavirus, including staying safe and planning ahead.
Resources if you have a health condition
The links below will help you find advice and information about dealing with coronavirus (COVID-19) if you have health conditions including:
- Heart conditions.
- Respiratory disease.
- Chronic kidney disease.
- Sickle cell disorder.
Latest 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.
The best way to stay healthy is to follow all the advice about avoiding infection. The main advice for staying free of infection is to stay home. 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.
Look after your health
- 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.
- Make sure you are up-to-date with your flu jab. This does not protect against coronavirus (COVID-19) but it will help you stay well, and will also lessen the pressure on the NHS by reducing hospital admissions.
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 coronavirus (COVID-19), 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.
Easy read documents
- About the coronavirus (PDF download)
- Stay at home (PDF download)
- How to stop coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading (PDF download)
- Wellbeing guide (PDF download)
We'd like to thank Easy Read Online for allowing us to use these resources.