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Covid 19 (Coronavirus) - Information for Shine Members: March 2021

18th March 2021


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Regular updates on Covid-19 (Coronavirus) can be found below.

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March 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)


18th March 2021

Your health and Coronavirus 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, scientists and clinicians have been able to collect important information about risk factors for severe illness, and possible ways to prevent it. Increasing age seems to be the biggest factor by far, with around 80% of the loss of life occurring in the over 70s, despite this group only accounting for about 10% of cases. 

Other known risk factors, such as being very overweight, tend to occur more in people living with some deprivation or disadvantage, and how well-nourished we are may play a part in how ill we become if we’re infected.  

Many vitamins play a part in maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin C and D, and several of the B vitamins, including B9 (folic acid), have been written about in connection with some possible protection against severe illness.  

Some of our members, especially those with spina bifida, may have lower levels of folate in their blood.  Many will also have lower levels of vitamin D due to limited exposure to sunlight needed to make this vitamin. Shine strongly recommends taking a multivitamin each day, particularly if you need to rely on ready meals, processed food or take-aways for quite a few of your weekly meals. A range of multivitamins is available in pharmacies and supermarkets, we recommend choosing one with 200µg folic acid, and 10µg of vitamin D. You can read more about vitamins and minerals on the NHS website.  

If you have kidney disease, ask your Renal team for advice on supplements, especially Vitamin D. 

Multivitamins are a useful way to avoid deficiencies, but it is important to still try to eat the best diet that you can. Being very overweight increases inflammation in the body, making it more likely you will become very ill if you catch coronavirus. Extra fat inside your abdomen can also make it harder to expand your lungs fully.  If you’re concerned about your weight, ask your GP for support. Exercise can help reduce inflammation in your body, seated exercise such as resistance bands can be helpful for people with mobility restrictions. 

The best ways to protect ourselves and help prevent the spread of this awful virus, are:

  • social distancing: avoid close contact with others, especially crowded indoor settings 
  • wearing face coverings
  • having the vaccine 
  • washing our hands frequently 
  • using the NHS COVID app  
  • self-isolating if you have symptoms 
  • looking after our general health as well as we possibly can 

Some of the most effective ways to improve your health are: 

  • Stop smoking: this is very important to protect your lung and heart health. NHS stop smoking services can help you quit 
  • Sleep well: this is important for your immune system and can help blood pressure regulation. The Sleep Foundation have good sleep hygiene advice  
  • Exercise: important for your immune system, heart and lung health, blood pressure. The NHS has tips on getting active with a disability  
  • Eat well: lots of vegetables for vitamins and fibre, complex carbs for energy and to fill you up, protein to help maintain and repair your body. If you’re moving less because of lockdown measures you’ll need to change what you’re eating if you want to avoid putting on weight. 
  • Good bowel management: a full colon can affect lung expansion  

Shine has information on continence-management and you can always contact us for individual advice support by emailing us at or calling us on 01733 555988. 
Here’s some more information you might want to read:

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