To shield or not to shield that is my question - NRAS


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To shield or not to shield that is my question


I have RA, heart disease and Bronchiectasis. I have not had a letter from Government or Doc to shield. I have more or less been isolating from my family next door and am very cautious where I go. I have been to Tesco on a quiet day as they seem to be the best organised. I wear a mask, but this does make breathing difficult. I am confused as to what is safe for me. I wish you all well out there in these difficult times.

36 Replies

It’s probably a bit late in the day with regard to letters etc. as the shielding restrictions are shortly to be lifted again - almost certainly by the end of July from what is being touted in the press (not always accurate, granted). If you never got a letter during April which is probably when the bulk of them were received you’ll certainly not get one at this stage. Sounds like you’ve done what’s necessary to keep strictly socially distanced and as long as you practice hand washing very regularly you’ll more than likely be ok but be very cautious.

My thoughts are this government’s being pushed by the financial sector to kick-start the economy rather than consider what's best in terms of the health of the population. Wealth before health. The virus is still out there as infectious and deadly as it was before. Closing down the country put the brakes on the transmission but take those brakes off and this coming Autumn could be another nightmare time for us all.

Best thing to do is weigh up the risk to yourself in as far as you can by looking at the case numbers in your area, stay socially distanced at 2 m whatever the conflicting advice and use your own sense as to whom you come into contact with in the wider world. Might be worth trying to shop online if you are able to to reduce the risk from all the totally inconsiderate idiots who couldn’t understand social distancing to start with and, once the rule is relaxed, certainly won’t be from then on! I spent over 25 years as a Specialist in Public Health so hopefully have some legitimacy in giving any advice. Good luck and stay well!

Thanks for the advice. I will be cautious for a long time yet. 1 person has died in my area and cases are low. I wish you well. What a mad year xx

Without wealth, there is no health for anyone 😊

Hessie5 in reply to Amnesiac3637

Excellent advice much appreciated - people have really just gone back to the norm, I’m astounded at the blase attitude. I don't listen to the government any longer as I have no faith. I look to my Rheumatologist who advised the government are relaxing too quickly and believes a second wave is going to happen. Take care.


I also have RA and broncheasis and did not receive a text or letter from the government. In early April received a letter fro rheumatology to say I should shield but GP said no via letter as there were no medical reason to shield later in April. I went wit h rheumatology advice. I looked into it and found that some people received text/letter but should not and there were others like you and I that didn't.

I have mainly isolated but have gone out early morning with a mask for a walk as it was quiet.

I agree as long as you continue to be cautious you should be OK.

There is going to be another spike as someone said earlier because the virus is still out there.

Keep well and safe x

Apparenly there's been a bit of a cock up with letters so just because you haven't had one doesn't mean you should not shield. Personally with your health issues I think you should be shielding.

Think of everyone being potentially a carrier for the virus. Keeping your distance, wearing a mask and washing yourself (and other things) with soap and water. That seems about right whether you have had a letter or not.

But it is a bit concerning that your GP practice haven't got you on their 'at risk' list and I would ask them why that is? Now things are settling down, I would wonder how your illnesses are coded by them if you have not been listed as vulnerable.

With your health issues I personally think you should remain cautious. So carry on doing what you are doing; keep away from people and stick to regular hand washing.

Some masks are much easier to breath through than others, so try a different variety. I have FPP2 masks that are like little tents over mouth and nose, and I find them much easier that cotton or surgical rectangular masks that give less protection.

Yes stay very cautious. However I would call your gp and ask if you should be on the shielding list or highly vulnerable list. I'm hoping for a vaccine like most people and maybe it would help us be considered earlier. Just a guess if course as no one know but yes I would chat with your gp about your risk level xxx

wishbone in reply to allanah

I think it's very likely that someone will need to be on the shielding list to be considered as priority for the vaccine.

allanah in reply to wishbone

I would think so , I'll eat my hat if I'm wrong 😂😂

wishbone in reply to allanah

Haha, I wasn't expecting that reply! :-)

allanah in reply to wishbone

Lol 😂😂

Pippy25 in reply to wishbone

Again in addition to any vaccine for this virus it also makes you wonder how they will conduct this years flu vaccine, as normally it's a sort of one in and one out queue thing, but if we are socially isolating, distancing, shielding how logistically can they undertake this. I know in my GP surgery as I can't get up the stairs to see the Dr she has to come down to those who cannot go upstairs and we have to sit in an area which is a thoroughfare for all patients to pass by. Afterall it's only a few months away for the start of flu vaccinations, so I wonder how this will work out for all surgeries and places who provide flu jabs? Again as flu is serious and kills if a vaccine can be found for the virus I wonder how this also will work out and as you say wishbone who will be prioritised? I am entitled to the flu jab, but have had no letters or anything for this virus to date. So what makes me vulnerable enough given my state of health that I can have a flu jab but possibly not a priority for a jab for this virus? Don't know about you but I think it's one big shambles. By the way my late dad has had in total 13 calls on his answer machine trying to give him support he doesn't need, a shed load of leaflets and an offer of Parsley Box ready meals to be delivered! It's beyond belief and they were told but the calls kept coming. Lots of questions and it feels like not too many answers either. By the way how is Mrs. W's leg doing? I've been meaning to ask.

wishbone in reply to Pippy25

Good question, I've never thought about how vaccinations will be conducted. They will have to arrange something for each surgery as yours certainly isn't up to scratch as it stands. My surgery will have to do a lot better than tell me to go to the hospital because they have no precautions in place to blood test someone who is shielding, which is what I was told when I phoned a while ago. Probably a non starter, but the safest method I can think of for the likes of us is to be vaccinated outdoors, under some form of temporary enclosure like a portocabin type thing adapted so you can walk in one entrance, get vaccinated, and out through another exit with no need to contact anything or anyone except for the nurse obviously. There could be a fleet of them so they can be transported to different surgeries on certain vaccination days.

When the Oxford Uni vaccine first started to show promise, I remember hearing some government minisister being asked in one of those daily briefings, who would be first in line for a vaccine. He seemed to be caught on the hop a bit and turned to both of his sidekick boffins who between the three of them said health and care workers first, followed by the most vunerable people. Not sure how they will work out who's most vunerable, but hope they make a far better job of it than they did with the letters. I t does seem a sensible approach to me, for a change, let's hope they carry it out.

Mrs W's leg has improved thanks, but is still troubling her. We have a knee support on the way from amazon dot com. :-)

Pippy25 in reply to wishbone

What a good idea with portacabins and a sort of one way system or maybe marquees/ gazebos? I think I heard on one channel over 50's were mentioned as first in line for a virus vaccine but as we learn more about different groups from the data collected about who this virus seems to affect, the list of those deemed at risk or vulnerable will widen I'm sure. Thanks for letting me know how Mrs. W is doing, I hope the knee support helps. Take care

wishbone in reply to Pippy25

Helix post reminds me of one shielding member who had a nurse visit her house for a blood test. I would think this will have to happen for some people who are not able to travel to their surgery to be vaccinated. In fact that could include me as I don't drive and daren't use public transport or even someone's car to travel to my local surgery a mile away.

Pippy25 in reply to wishbone

That's right, they used to come out to my dad for home visits and to give him his flu jab as he was not able to get into his surgery on a mobility scooter and wasn't able to walk into the surgery. Different surgery to mine, but again not well designed for those with disabilities or mobility issues. Perhaps something that should be addressed in the future as part of this virus thing in respect of suitability of buildings/ protecting patients.

wishbone in reply to Pippy25

There you go. If it's not possible to travel to a surgery then they will have to come out and give someone a flu jab. It's no big deal, or shouldn't be anyway, especially after what we've been through. Perhaps a district nurse could do it.

helixhelix in reply to Pippy25

Last year I picked up the vaccine from the chemist (a syringe), and did it at home. Intramuscular, so into muscle in upper arm. Sorted.

Pippy25 in reply to helixhelix

Not good with needles, so I'm not sure if I could successfully inject myself without any experience, but a good idea if you are used to injecting your meds or have experience of injecting in a professional capacity too.

allanah in reply to Pippy25

I've been in and out if doctors and hospitals the whole lockdown, they are good at infection control!

auntypank in reply to Pippy25

Drive through/ walk through vaccinations would be best for me. Not happy about going in buildings. x

Pippy25 in reply to auntypank

I understand. I've got to go for some blood tests next week and it doesn't fill me with joy if I'm honest. I've got the first appointment and will be wearing a face mask and gloves. I will take plenty of sanitiser too. I've been out for a couple of drives in the car and notice people going about their business as usual. I only saw 2 people yesterday (on a busy market day too) wearing face masks, so I feel I am living a different life after shielding but will continue to do so and go at my pace. Take care and go at what is comfortable for you, little steps. x

It was announced last week that priority for the vaccine would be the over 50s first.

I would carry on as you are - being sensible. Think those shielding are about to stop officially shielding soon.

I’m not shielding but I’m going to carry on doing what I’ve been doing since before the official lockdown - basically I go out for my daily walk, I’ve been to a couple of very quiet shops wearing face mask and gloves and keeping my two metres away from other people.

My husband and I are both retired though so it’s not the same for us as it is for younger people.

Good advice. I think we have to go with our own situations and knowing our health go with what feels best for us, taking as you rightly say sensible precautions.

Hi i would phone your doc or consultant tomorrow and ask to see if you should be sheilded or not, it also tells you to do this on gov website ,incase you maybe do not have to sheild and if that is the case ,then you can see your family more if your comfortable with that ,or you may also be told you should be sheilding and if that is the case ask for letter, with the mask you do not have to wear one outdoors if social distance is in place and it is safe to do so specially with the breathing i personally will not wear one unless it is law , there is mixed views about the masks ,hope you can get to see family alot more soon

Think the only person that can advise you is your doc and consultant. Give them a call and they’ll be able to give you the definitive answer. None of us here know your health and it would be foolish of us to suppose we do.

Hope you’re keeping well 😊

Have you checked the NHS website? It defines as to who is at clinical risk and who is at moderate risk. It may answer some of the questions/concerns that you have. Remain cautious and sensible and have a lovely day. 🙂

Shield and get your family next door to do your shopping stay well Mike

I have the same health issues as you, but my understanding is just having RA or a dicky heart doesn't necessarily mean you will get a letter from the Gov or your GP, it depends on what medication you are taking, the concerns are if you are on a immunosuppression medication, your GP will know what medication you are taking and will work to the guild lines, if you have any concerns why not ring the surgery and ask the question, good luck.

Hi. I take mxt for RA and have Bronchiectasis. I didn't get a letter at first either. I rang my GP about 4 weeks into lockdown. He said I should definitely be shielding and should have had a letter. Fortunately I had already been shielding anyway. He asked me to leave it with him and within a few days I received my letter and phone call from Council asking what support and help I needed. x

I stayed in for 12+ weeks I am classed as vulnerable. I haven’t been in a shop yet and I am following all the guidelines. I have returned to work ( self employed cleaner). This virus is not going away so we have to learn to live with the new normal. We just have to be aware the virus is still there and strictly social distance and keep up with the hygiene.

Thank you all for advice and comments. So far so good. I am managing my health and being cautious. I hope all of you stay away from this virus. Love and hugs xx

Sounds like there has been some good advice so far. I have a friend who has MS and a major heart condition and she’s had to work at the hospital in the laboratory for the whole crisis. She didn’t get a letter either but she is taking as many precautions as she can and so far she’s ok and I sincerely hope it stays that way. I think you have been sensible and think you need to carry on as you are if that’s possible. I’m clinically extremely vulnerable so I won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and I sooo miss my daughters and granddaughter, but even I have seen them recently in the garden at a safe distance so for our own sanity we need to take a few cautious steps. I so want to hug my kids and granddaughter but it is the way it is for their safety and mine. I consider as I’ve stuck right by the rules for about 16 weeks now because I saw this coming and wasn’t well for the first two anyway that I have the prospect of a life with my family and friends hopefully sooner rather than later. But you’re a long time dead as they say.

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