Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for people at highest risk

Advice to help people in the Covid highest risk group make informed decisions and access support services.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for people at highest risk
Health and wellbeing

Health and wellbeing

Looking after your mental health

We are now asking you follow the same advice as the rest of the population and 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

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 (Monday to Thursday: 6pm – 2am, Friday to Monday: 6pm – 6am)
  • Samaritans - 116 123 (Every day: 24 hours a day)
  • Red Cross - 0808 196 3651 (Every day: 10am – 6pm)

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

  • spending time doing things you enjoy
  • meeting friends and family
  • making sure that you get some natural light
  • trying to eat healthily 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.

Flu vaccine

If you are able to get the flu vaccine, you should consider getting this as soon as possible. It will not protect you against COVID-19 but will protect you from this year’s flu.

Anyone who lives with you at home can also get a free flu vaccination this year. You will receive information about this in the post.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus

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

If you or a member of your household have coronavirus symptoms stay at home. Check NHS Inform or call 111 for more information and to book a test. 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: 23 Feb 2021 Last updated: 15 Oct 2021 -