Information for patients who have COPD during this time of Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

In line with Government advice, The Castle Medical Group and all GP practices in Clitheroe, Slaidburn, Sabden and Whalley have reduced face –to-face contact with patients to reduce the risk of spreading the viral illness COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

For this reason, we have not been arranging routine face-to-face reviews. However, we very much want to support you over this difficult period, and our doctors and nurses are available for advice over the telephone, and we can also arrange video consultations. If, following assessment, we feel you need a face-to-face assessment then we can arrange this. We are currently conducting face-to -face appointments at Clitheroe Community Hospital.

You will have read information that certain groups of patients are at increased risk of being ill from Covid-19 and this includes patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The best ways to look after yourself are:

• Maintain social distancing or shielding as appropriate, and follow the guidelines regarding handwashing and reducing the risk of infection in general.

• Make sure you are taking your inhalers and other medication as prescribed.

• Make sure you have an action plan in place for if your COPD symptoms were to worsen. This could be calling the GP for advice or using any “rescue medication” that you and your GP have previously discussed and arranged. As long as they are used appropriately these medications are still safe to use during the coronavirus pandemic.

• Avoid smoking, or try to reduce or stop completely. This can be difficult at times of stress, but stopping smoking will reduce your risk of complications of COVID-19. Contact your practice to speak to a Practice Nurse if you need support with this.

• If your COPD is under good control we would not recommend changing or adding to your inhalers as this will not alter your likelihood of getting COVID-19.

• You may wish to consider purchasing an oxygen saturations monitor online. These cost from around £20 and can add really useful information when we are trying to assess patients via video-link.

• Telling the difference between a COPD exacerbation and coronavirus can be tricky. If you feel your breathing is worsening please contact your GP surgery for a telephone appointment and we can advise you from there.

• In the event of severe breathing difficulties please call 999.

For further advice on managing COPD during COVID-19, please visit: