Coronavirus > Coronavirus advice > Living with a stroke

Living with a stroke

If you have had a stroke

If you have previously had a stroke, you may feel worried about how coronavirus might affect you. A stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease – a disease that can affect your blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease can affect the flow of blood around your body, including your heart and brain. It’s not clear how having cardiovascular disease might affect you if you get coronavirus. However, if you have cardiovascular disease, it’s thought that you have a higher risk of complications if you do get coronavirus.

If you have had a stroke or are supporting someone who has, download our coronavirus stroke factsheet (PDF) to find out more.

We are continually updating our information on coronavirus. Please check regularly for updates. 

 

Those at increased risk from coronavirus

If you have previously had one or more strokes and you get coronavirus, you have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. Your level of risk also depends on things such as your age, your overall health and whether you have other health conditions.

Extremely high risk

There are some health conditions which put people at extremely high risk of becoming seriously ill if they get coronavirus. You can find the full list of these health conditions on the NHS Inform website.

If you have any of these health conditions on the list, you need to take extra steps to protect yourself. The Scottish Government has advised people with any of these health conditions to self-isolate for 12 weeks. NHS Scotland will contact you directly to tell you what you need to do and who to contact if you need help.

This new measure is called ‘shielding’. To find out what shielding means and what you need to do, visit our shielding page.

Increased risk

If shielding doesn’t apply to you, you are still considered to have an increased risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus if any of the following apply to you:

  • you are 70 or older (even if you don’t have any underlying health conditions)
  • you are under 70 but you have an underlying health condition – this includes anyone given the flu vaccination each year on medical grounds
  • you are pregnant.

You can find the full list of which underlying health conditions put you at increased risk on the NHS Inform website. The list includes stroke and other chronic neurological conditions.

If you have any of these health conditions on the list, you do not have to self-isolate for 12 weeks but it is particularly important that you strictly follow the current social distancing measures to reduce your risk of getting coronavirus and of becoming seriously ill.

Stay at home advice for everyone: social distancing

Even if you are not at increased risk from coronavirus, it’s vital that you follow social distancing measures to protect yourself and reduce the number of people who get the virus. To find out what social distancing means and what you need to do, visit our social distancing page or download more information about how to follow the current stay at home advice.

 

What to do if you have symptoms

  • If you have a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, you need to self-isolate and not leave home at all for 7 days.
  • If anyone you live with has a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, you all need to self-isolate and not leave home at all for 14 days.

For more information, visit our self-isolation page.

You can find more guidance below about how to self-isolate safely. You can also download this image to view, print or share.

Reduce your risk of getting coronavirus

To reduce your chances of getting coronavirus, it is important to follow NHS Scotland advice. This includes:

  • follow social distancing advice: stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home) - this advice is for everyone but is particularly important if you are in a vulnerable group
  • wash your hands with soap and water more often, for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser gel if you are out and about
  • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw out tissues straight away 
  • avoid touching your face
  • avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus 
  • follow the stay at home advice from NHS Scotland if someone in your household has symptoms.

Manage your condition

It is important to continue to manage your health condition and stay as healthy as you can:

  • eat a healthy diet
  • stay as physically active as you can
  • get as much sleep as possible - this can help your mood, your memory and reduce your tiredness
  • look after your mental wellbeing as much as you can, and stay in contact with family and friends as much as possible through phone calls, emails, messaging and video calls
  • continue to take your medication as prescribed
  • know what is normal for you and your own health condition and know how to recognise the signs that your health might be changing or getting worse
  • have a plan in place for what you will do if you become unwell and who you will contact to get the help you need.

 

Plan ahead

If you are at increased risk from coronavirus, it's a good idea to plan ahead and make sure you are prepared in case you need to self-isolate. For example, you should:

  • think about who you may need to stay in touch with and who can help you if you, a family member or a carer becomes unwell - for example, who could collect your medicines from the pharmacy or deliver other essentials such as food to you
  • make a list of what you might need if you have to self-isolate, such as your food, medicines or contacting your GP or hospital about any upcoming medical appointments
  • make a plan for other people in your household who you support and who might be vulnerable if you had to self-isolate
  • put together a list of contact details for people you might need to contact if you needed to self-isolate, such as your neighbours, employer, pharmacist and GP
  • make sure you have enough medication to last you and continue to take this medication as prescribed
  • set up online shopping accounts if this is right for you
  • talk to your neighbours and family, and exchange telephone numbers so that everyone is connected.

 

For free, confidential support and information on coronavirus and your condition, call our Advice Line nurses for free on 0808 801 0899, email adviceline@chss.org.uk or text NURSE to 66777.

Tips to help you cope if you are worried

  • Stay up to date with latest information and advice but make sure you are accessing good quality, reliable sources of information such as the NHS, Health Protection Scotland and the Scottish Government. This will help you feel more in control.
  • Stay connected and get support from friends and family. You can also get emotional and practical support to help you cope from helplines such as our Advice Line Nurses on 0808 801 0899
  • Keep as active as you can, eat a balanced diet, and get enough sleep; all these things can help your mental wellbeing 
  • Use stress management and relaxation techniques. For more information on how to look after your mental wellbeing visit The Mental Health Foundation

If you don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus but want more information

If you don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus but want more information about the virus and what it means for you, you can:

 

  • Contact the free NHS coronavirus helpline: Telephone:  0800 028 2816 This helpline is open: Monday to Friday 8.00am to 10.00pm Saturday and Sunday: 9.00am to 5.00pm

If you have questions about coronavirus, you should not visit your GP in person. Instead, contact the NHS coronavirus helpline, using the contact details above.