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COVID-19 – General advice and guidance

Eating well during COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory infection that affects your lungs and airways. At this time, it is especially important to eat healthily so that our bodies are more able to fight infections such as COVID-19.

If you are worried about your weight or want help to eat more healthily and lose weight, we can help.

The way we shop and eat may have changed during COVID-19 restrictions. This may mean having to cook more on a tighter budget, feed children during school closures, or relying on others to do the shopping.

Key Messages

Overweight or have type 2 diabetes?

If you are overweight or have type 2 diabetes, it is important to follow a healthy diet.

Having Diabetes does not mean you are more likely to catch coronavirus (COVID-19). However, if you do catch coronavirus (COVID-19), it can cause more severe symptoms and complications. My Diabetes My Way and Diabetes UK provide specific advice for people with diabetes, their family and friends.

For people with diabetes or a BMI of 40 or above it is very important to maintain a healthy weight or lose some weight. This may seem very challenging due to the current restrictions but there are lots of useful resources to help (see information in the boxes below).

Glasgow and Clyde Weight Management Services are targeted at adults, aged 18 and over, with existing health conditions that will be improved by losing weight. If you have:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Have previously had a Stroke
  • Have a BMI of >30

You can self-refer to the weight management service by calling 0141 211 3379 or completing our online referral form.

For young people between 12-18 the Weight to Go programme is currently operating a waiting list.

Eat well to keep you and your household healthy

At this time, it is especially important to eat well and be a healthy weight to keep you and your households healthy.

You may be preparing and cooking more meals at home. Food Standards Scotland has useful information on food safety to help make sure the food you cook and eat won’t do you any harm.

If you are looking for meal ideas that are low cost, quick and easy to prepare Eat Better Feel Better recipes are free to access and also has meal planners and cook-a-long videos. Love Food Hate Waste also have lots of recipes and information and tips on reducing food waste.

Information on the benefits of a healthy diet can be accessed on NHS Inform Food and Nutrition.

Practical help and great resources to help you lose weight are available. Have a look at our Eat Well Feel Good Look Great Lose weight practical guide or try the new NHS Inform 12 week online weight management programme.

Keeping active during this difficult time can be challenging, but help and advice on staying active and well is available.

Help with getting food is available in your area

This is a challenging time and will cause worry for some households. We have gathered local information on the COVID-19 response to food. It provides information on how to access food including the newly established community hubs, food aid, meal providers, information for specific groups such as shielded households and those entitled to free school meals.

Find information and support to access food in your area.

COVID-19 might affect you financially. Our Money Worries page provides information about COVID-19 and your finances, changes to benefits claims and the support services available.

Pregnant women and families who have children aged up to three years old on low income might be enti Best Start Food benefits.

Vitamin D for those shielding or self-isolating

Many people are being asked to stay at home if they are shielding or self-isolating. During these measures you may want to take a vitamin supplement containing vitamin D.

The Scottish Government are currently advising people to stay at home. This may mean staying indoors for much of the day which could result in not getting enough Vitamin D from sunlight. During stay at home restrictions, guidance on vitamin D has been revised to reflect the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. National information on shielding can be found on the NHS Inform site.

Everyone (including children and pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D. This is especially important for people who are indoors all of the time for bone and muscle health. More information is available via the Scottish Government website.

Vitamin D supplements can be purchased at most supermarkets and pharmacies. If you are self-isolating or shielding and are unable to go to the shops help is available in your area.

All pregnant women are entitled to free Healthy Start vitamins, which contain Vitamin D from your midwife. Women and children who qualify for the Best Start Foods scheme in Scotland can get free Healthy Start vitamins containing the recommended amounts of vitamin D from your community pharmacy. Healthy Start vitamins are also available to purchase if you do not qualify for Best Start Food

People aged 70 or older are more at risk

People aged 70 or older are more at risk from COVID-19 and should follow social distancing measures to keep safe.

Age Scotland has compiled advice for older people and their families on how to avoid exposure to the virus, and includes advice on shopping. Age Scotland also have a helpline Telephone: 0800 12 44 222.

Local community support is also available for those who require assistance to access food and support. Please see our local information and support.

Support for patients who have had COVID-19

Support is available for anyone who has been hospitalised due to COVID-19.

Our Support and Information Service (SIS) provides support and information on a range of issues including money advice, energy and carers support. We also provide an emergency food discharge pack for vulnerable inpatients being discharged from QEUH, GRI and RAH who either have no food at home or are unable to food shop due to COVID-19.

We will also make onward referrals to services providing food shopping and medicine deliveries.

Feeding your baby

Staying active and well

The health of the public remains a top priority as we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
We want to encourage everyone to keep healthy during this unprecedented disruption to our daily life. This means taking care of both your physical and mental health.

With this in mind, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has pulled together a number of resources to help you do this.

Resources

Physical activity

As we all follow Government advice to limit our social activities, we can continue being physically active. If you are well, a daily routine which includes physical activity can help you feel less anxious and help you sleep better.

If you are unwell, use all your energy to get better and don’t try to do too much.  When you’re getting better, return to your normal activities gradually.

Get outside

Being outside in the fresh air and green space can help reduce stress and make us feel better. Unless you are self-isolating, you can walk, jog, run or cycle outside on your own, as long as you keep 2 metres (three paces) away from other people.

Walking

Walking is a great simple form of physical activity. Tracking your steps with a pedometer, a fitness tracker or a phone app can help you keep you motivated to stay active.

World Walking – Download the free app or visit the website and try to virtually walk your way around a number of routes from across the world.

Active 10 App – free app to help you get into the habit of walking briskly for 10 minutes every day. You can also connect with other others to spur each other on.

For those self-isolating and well

You don’t need a gym or special equipment to be active, there are lots of things you can do at home to help you stay active. 

Children and young people

These online activities are designed for kids to get active, but can be used by the whole family:

Mental Health

It’s important to take care of your mental health during this period.

You can do so by staying connected with friends and family, taking breaks from the news, and finding ways to relax. You can find more information on the SAMH website.

The Scottish Government has also launched the Clear your head website providing tips and ideas to help you look after your mental wellbeing.

Additional resources

Mindfulness

There’s little doubt that the days ahead will be challenging both mentally and physically for all of us. Pressure of this type can help us perform at our best, with focus and skill, however we also need ways to take care of ourselves, and to balance the effects of stress.

No matter how experienced or calm we are, a crisis like this will activate our fight and flight response to threat. This is completely normal. Our threat system is programmed to protect us in a short term emergency. However when the cascade of activity triggered in our fight or flight system goes on at a high level for a lengthy period it can cause us significant health issues, can lower our immunity and lead to burnout. We can feel panic and want to run, perhaps become nippy and irritable, or simply freeze and want to hide. These are all normal reactions in intensely stressful situations.

Mindfulness can help us notice when our stress levels are becoming more toxic. We can learn how to create a pause, even for a few moments, and check in with ourselves. We can cultivate skills to help us step out of automatic and really notice how we are in any moment. This can help us respond appropriately to the challenges of a constantly changing situation. Mindfulness can also strengthen our ability to fully focus on one thing at a time, doing the best we can. A mindful pause can help when we need to make decisions and to know when to ask for help.

The STOP process can act as a foundation to finding a mindful pause:

S= Stop! Tune in to the soles of your feet contacting the floor, noticing the feeling of pressure and support even if your feet are aching. This can help with a sense of steadiness and grounding…arriving in the present moment. Your feet are as far away as possible from a racing mind.

T= Take a few slower and deeper breaths, as best as you can, doing this gently without a sense of forcing or intensity. If it helps you may like to count to 4 as you breathe in and then out, noticing if you can begin to lengthen your out-breath to 6 or 8.

O= Observe how you are in this moment, asking ‘How is my body feeling, can I release tension from any part?  Where is my mind, anxiously racing ahead, trying to chase the’ to do’ list, catastrophising? How am I feeling, can I allow myself to feel whatever is here and bring some kindness to myself and others?’

P= Proceed. The intensity of the situation may not have changed; however, you may be able to relate to it with a little more awareness, steadiness and kindly understanding towards yourself and those around you.

Further support

Alcohol consumption

With our lives drastically changed, there could be an increase in alcohol consumption for some.

The chief medical officer’s advice for adults aged 18 and over is:

  • To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
  • If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread your drinking evenly over 3 or more days.
  • If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week, you increase your risk of death from long term illness and from accidents and injuries.
  • The risk of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases the more you drink on a regular basis.

If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink free days each week.

If you want to find out more information or are looking for advice or support, visit:

Shielding – Support in your local area

East Renfrewshire

Call: 0141 577 3093. The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.45am – 4.45pm (excluding bank holidays), or email shielding@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk

For clear information on shielding including what it is, who it applies to, how to access help and other FAQs, visit:

Non-shielding residents are directed to the East Renfrewshire Community Hub where volunteers are helping other vulnerable and isolated residents

The Community Hub helpline is 0141 876 9555 and is open Monday to Friday, 10am – 3pm

East Dunbartonshire

Call: 0800 111 4000. The helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. Or email shielding@eastdunbarton.gov.uk

Information is hosted on their dedicated Coronavirus web pages: www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/council-democracy/coronavirus-covid-19.

For clear information on shielding including what it is, who it applies to, how to access help and other FAQs, visit:

Residents who require support but are not shielding are clearly directed to the East Dunbartonshire Voluntary Action (EDVA) who are working in partnership with the providers of the Older People’s Advice Line (OPAL) to support those who need some extra help.

They can be contacted on 0141 438 2347. The helpline is open 7 days a week from 9am – 5pm

Glasgow City

Call the helpline on: 0141 276 1185, 7 days a week, 9am – 5pm

Or email: ShieldingResponse@glasgow.gov.uk

For information on shielding visit:

There is an extensive FAQs section on shielding to support residents. 

For those who are not shielding, they are directed to the Community Hub for Glasgow, which has been set up by Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector and the Health & Social Care Partnership. The Hub provides information on local groups and organisations in your area that can provide support for a wide range of activities, including accessing food and picking up medication.

Residents can contact the Community Hub on 0141 345 0543, Monday to Friday, 9am -5pm. Or visit:

Renfrewshire

Call the helpline on: 0300 300 0230, 7 days a week, 8.45am – 4.45pm

Or email: Shielding.Support.Referrals@renfrewshire.gov.uk 

The free helpline is available on 0800 111 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Inverclyde

For shielding information visit:

Call the community helpline on: 0800 111 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

West Dunbartonshire

Call the helpline on: 01389 738282 (option 5) or visit