Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support

Details of shielding advice to help people make informed decisions and access support services.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support
Health and wellbeing

Health and wellbeing

Vitamin D

People in Scotland should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D. This is very important if you are not spending much time outdoors.

Looking after your mental health

Moving into the new phases of shielding, we hope that this will have a positive impact on your wellbeing. However, we know this may also feel daunting. You may want to visit Clear Your Head for practical advice to deal with feelings of uncertainty.

Talk to your GP if you feel worried and want to speak to someone, they can help make sure you get the support you need. There is also a wide range of other support services available in Scotland. 

You can find help online from the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH). Or you can talk to someone over the phone:

  • Breathing Space - 0800 83 85 87
  • Samaritans - 116 123

Other things you can do to look after your wellbeing include:

  • spending time doing things you enjoy
  • meeting friends and family – please read our guidance before doing this
  • making sure that you get some natural light
  • trying to eat healthy and drinking enough water
  • trying to avoid smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs


It is vital that you get the care you need in the safest way possible. Talk to your GP or clinician, if you have a hospital or medical appointment. This will make sure you continue to receive the care you need. They may decide to do a consultation or appointment over the telephone. Or they may use Near Me, a video-calling service used by the NHS.

Other times, they may conduct a home visit or ask you to travel to a practice, health centre or hospital. They will have considered risk of infection, clinical need and service capacity. There will be measures in place to keep you safe.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus

If it’s an emergency, whether related to coronavirus or not, phone 999.

If, at any point, you think you have developed symptoms of coronavirus, call 111. Do this as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature (above 37.8 °C) – feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour or more
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual

If you need to go to hospital due to coronavirus, we ask that you have ready a single hospital bag. This will help the NHS provide you with the best care possible. This should include: 

  • details for your emergency contact
  • a list of the medications you take (including dose and frequency)
  • an anticipatory care plan if you have one
  • any information on planned appointments
  • essential items for an overnight stay – snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication etc.

Personal care

Your carers and visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit. This is unless they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus themselves. It is also a good idea to speak to your carers about what happens if one of them becomes unwell.

If you need help with care, you can contact local carer organisations to arrange care.

You can continue to provide guide support to someone who has been shielding. You do not have to live with them or be in their extended household group.

We have published advice for unpaid carers providing personal care. It is for people who provide help to a family member or friend such as washing or dressing. This can be someone they do or do not live with. It also provides advice on when to use PPE and where to get it.

Do not support someone if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms.

First published: 3 Aug 2020 Last updated: 5 Aug 2020 -