Published 28 January 2022
We share our tips on how to adjust to change, as Covid rules relax across the UK.
With Covid rules now changing in the UK, you may be looking forward to greater freedoms in your life. But for many people, the ending of Covid rules, whether that’s working from home, mask-wearing, or self-isolation, can cause some worry about staying safe – especially when it’s difficult for us to control the behaviour of people around us.
There’s no specific guidance for people with heart or circulatory conditions about avoiding infection, other than the advice that applies to everyone else. But if you feel concerned, you may want to take a few extra measures to reduce the risk of infection.
Remember, you don’t need to feel under pressure to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Being open with other people about how you feel, while being aware that other people may feel differently, can be a helpful way to get through uncertain times.
Want to get fit and healthy?
Sign up to our fortnightly Heart Matters newsletter to receive healthy recipes, new activity ideas, and expert tips for managing your health. Joining is free and takes two minutes.
Wearing a face mask
We used to think that Covid-19 was spread by droplets, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes, but we now know it’s more likely to be airborne, in particles that we breathe out, which stay suspended in the air. That’s why good masks and ventilation are so important. Opening a window brings fresh air into a room and removes older air that could contain virus particles.
- Read more about the importance of good ventilation
Masks have played an important role in reducing the spread of coronavirus. Even if the rules where you live no longer require you to wear a mask, you may decide to wear when there is a higher risk of being exposed to Covid-19 (indoors, on public transport, and in crowded outdoor places).
We now know a lot more about which kinds of masks work best against Covid-19. For most of us, the best choice is an FFP2 mask (sometimes called a respirator), which you can buy in your local pharmacy or online. These offer you better protection than surgical or fabric masks, because the fit means that air doesn’t leak in around the sides, and because the special material can filter out very small particles. They are designed to be easy to breathe in, and you can reuse them (though they start to be less effective after lots of wears).
To work well, a FFP2 mask should fit against your face with no gaps anywhere around it. To create a tight seal, form the nose clip and place both straps around your head, adjusting them if necessary. If the facepiece collapses a small amount when you inhale, it probably fits well. Get in the habit of doing a “self-seal check” before each wear.
Wearing surgical or fabric masks still helps reduce the risk to others around you, but does less to reduce your risk of catching Covid from others.
If you’re meeting other people, and you’d rather you all wore a mask, and/or continue to social distance, why not suggest it in advance of meeting up? If you’re meeting friends or family, hopefully they’ll be happy to do something that makes you feel safer. They might be thinking the same and be pleased that you’ve raised it.
While you can’t change the behaviour of all the people around you, you can continue to take a few steps that can help you feel safer, and more able to lead the life you want to.
What to read next…