Most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 have now been lifted across the UK. To see details of any restrictions still in place where you live, visit the UK government website.
As restrictions ease, you may be feeling excited or worried as we get back to doing things we did before. You will need to make personal decisions about what activities you do or don’t feel comfortable doing. After over a year of strict rules, this change of approach may cause some level of unease for everyone. If you have Crohn’s or Colitis you may have even more concerns about your risk level and what you should do to keep yourself safe. The information below may help you weigh up your risks and make choices.
Your risk level and extra precautions
Finding out your risk level
- Having a diagnosis of Crohn’s or Colitis alone does not increase your risk of getting COVID-19 or developing severe illness if you do catch it. However, other factors such as the medication you take and whether you are in a flare may affect your risk. Your symptoms and medications for Crohn’s or Colitis may change a lot over time. This will mean your risk level can change a lot too. You can quickly check your risk level using our decision tree.
- You can also use the IBD Registry's COVID-19 UK IBD Tool to assess your risk and provide you with a personalised PDF explaining your risk level if you need to show employers. This information on risk is only about Crohn’s and Colitis. There are other factors which can impact your risk that you also need to consider, such as your gender, ethnicity, age and other health conditions.
- If you are still unsure whether you are at increased risk, speak to your GP or IBD team for further advice.
Staying safe when restrictions are lifted
If you are at increased risk, there are things you can do to lower your risk of getting COVID-19. These include:
- If you haven’t had your first and second dose of the vaccine, have it as soon as you can. You might want to wait until 14 days after your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others.
- Consider whether the people you spend time with have been vaccinated.
- If meeting up with others, meet outdoors where possible. If you meet up indoors, keep doors or windows open.
- Try to keep the number of different people you see low – maybe meet fewer people but spend more time with them.
- Consider frequent rapid COVID testing and maybe asking people you are going to meet to have a rapid COVID test too. Use this service to order free packs of rapid lateral flow tests to be sent to your home.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Avoid travelling on public transport during peak times.
- Check the COVID rates in your area.
- Continue to follow hygiene advice, such as washing your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
We have detailed information about the risk categories on our risk page.
For people living in England, there is government guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. There is different guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people living in Scotland, living in Wales and living in Northern Ireland.
It is important to take care of your mental health as things change. The NHS has information about how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting.
Communicating concerns about your risk level can be difficult. As restrictions ease, people may see risk very differently and you may find it hard to talk about why you're worried about certain things.
We are currently working on creating information to help you with this issue. In the meantime, you could try looking at our 'It Takes Guts' resources. These can help you with talking to other people about your condition and what it means for you.
Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing your risk of catching COVID-19. It also reduces your risk of developing serious illness if you do catch it. As restrictions ease, it is even more important to get fully vaccinated.
The British Society of Gastroenterology strongly recommends those with Crohn’s and Colitis have both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
We welcome the announcement from the JCVI on a third dose COVID-19 vaccine for people who are immunosuppressed. We’ve been working with the government and other charities to call for clear guidance on vaccination for people with Crohn’s and Colitis. We’ll be working with the British Society of Gastroenterology and other healthcare professionals to develop clear information and guidance for people with Crohn’s and Colitis as soon as we have more information.
To read more on the coronavirus vaccine for people with Crohn’s or Colitis see our information here.
- If you test positive for coronavirus, or you're experiencing symptoms, your IBD team may advise you to pause some of your medicines until you feel better. Find out more in our information on testing positive
- Hear from people with Crohn's and Colitis who have tested positive for COVID-19 on how the virus affected them
- Find out more about the latest medicines being used to treat coronavirus, and what this may mean for you if you take similar medicines for your Crohn's or Colitis
I had many of the symptoms, including a fever, cough and loss of taste and smell but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I imagined it would be. I had some lingering fatigue for probably 2 or 3 weeks after I recovered, but then got back to full health.
83% of you have found our information about coronavirus, including tools to identify your risk level, helpful
- View the results of our Life in Lockdown survey to see how people with Crohn's and Colitis have been affected by coronavirus, from access to healthcare to employment.
- We have blogs from our supporters on various issues such as finding reliable information, a GP's perspective on the pandemic and Ramadan celebrations in 2020.
- Employment and finances: Many people with Crohn's or Colitis are concerned about their situation at work or their finances changing because of the coronavirus pandemic. We can help you access the information and support you need. This includes information on safely returning to the workplace.
- Right now, locked public and accessible toilets are having a massive impact on people with Crohn’s or Colitis. We need your help to change this.
- We've put together some tips for getting the most out of your virtual appointment (telephone or video), as more healthcare services are being delivered virtually
Whilst the easing of lockdown restrictions and lifting of the legal requirements to wear masks and socially distance may be a relief to some, many of us have some concerns about the restrictions lifting. You may be worried about the rising number of cases or angry at what the easing of restrictions may mean for you. Whatever you are feeling, you are not alone. We have put together some information and links to help you cope and improve your wellbeing.
- As things change it is important to take care of your mental health. The NHS has information about how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting.
- Understanding your level of risk can help you make informed decisions for your own health. Find out more about what your risk means for you.
- If you are concerned about returning to work or finances, see our Work and finance information.
- The charity MIND has lots of helpful information about maintaining your mental wellbeing including Managing feelings about lockdown easing and Tips for taking care of your mental wellbeing.
- Our Helplines team are available to talk if you have any questions. They have put together their top tips for mental wellbeing.
- We're here for you throughout the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. See our Wellbeing Support page for how we can help.
- Take part in coronavirus research
- We’ve put together some virtual fundraising ideas to help you have fun with friends, family and colleagues and keep supporting people living with Crohn’s and Colitis at the same time.
- Since coronavirus has hit the UK, our community has needed our support and guidance more than ever. Help us continue to rise to the challenge. Donate now.
- Read about the measures we've taken to rebuild and change due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Today, IBD teams all over the UK are pointing patients in our direction for coronavirus information. Find out how our Knowledge and Evidence team are keeping up with the crisis to bring you the most accurate and up-to-date information.
- One of our Helplines Officers, Anna, explains how the team have been helping people and answers some important coronavirus questions along the way in her blog.
We’re still experiencing an exceptionally high demand for information. We’re also working remotely which is a big change for us but we’re still supporting each other with catch ups at the start and the end of the day.
We know that the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for many of you. If you have any questions or need to talk, you can contact our confidential Helpline via email, telephone or Live Chat - 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.