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Staying safe this Christmas

MS Helpline Nurses

We're here to support you through the festive season. Discover tips on how to stay safe this Christmas as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

The run up to Christmas can be a challenging time. But there are some things people with MS, family and friends can do to lower the risk from COVID-19.

Socialise with only a few people

It’s okay if you’re not comfortable meeting someone in person – especially this year. All four UK governments have published guidance around limiting social contacts. Not everyone with MS is at higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19. But our information can help explain what your level of risk might be.

Find out about MS and the level of risk from COVID-19

Read advice from the NHS about anxiety related to lockdown lifting

Wrap up warm and meet outside

If you can get outside, wrapped up warm, the open air might be a good way to see close friends and family. Meeting outside lowers the chances of coronavirus being passed on through the air. If everyone can wear a face covering, keep their distance and get tested before you meet that also lowers the risk.

Read our tips for staying warm in winter

Open the windows

If you need to meet people indoors, good ventilation can help. Other measures like face coverings, hand hygiene and social distancing can also reduce the risks. The UK government has advice on how get a good flow of air without it getting too cold. You might need to wrap up to stay warm if you have your windows open.

Read the UK government’s advice for good ventilation indoors

Get help gathering supplies

Supermarkets are still doing online deliveries. And some have priority slots if you’re self-isolating or you can’t leave the house. Friends or family could collect shopping or prescriptions. But there’s also support through local councils and volunteer groups.

Find out how to get help with your shopping

Keeping your space safe

If you’re worried about social distancing when shopping, there are lanyards, badges and cards to encourage others to keep their distance. We’ve got a new "I have MS" card to help explain it to others. And that fits on a lanyard or in a purse or wallet.

Read more on social distancing with MS

Vaccines

If you’re due a jab, they’re still being delivered over Christmas. Early research suggests booster jabs give protection from the Omicron variant. 

Read more about COVID-19 vaccines and MS

Early treatments if you do catch COVID-19

No vaccine is 100% effective. And there are treatments you might be offered in the first few days after a positive COVID-19 test. If you’ve got MS, you can expect a letter, email or text from the NHS with information about this in the coming weeks. Check your spam folder if you don't get an email.

Even if you haven't heard from the NHS and you get COVID-like symptoms, do a PCR test. If it's positive and you're not contacted within 24 hours about treatment, call your GP or 111 – they can refer you.

Learn more about the new COVID-19 treatments for people with MS

Ways to stay connected this Christmas

We know many people have experienced stress, anxiety, isolation and loneliness this year. These feelings can worsen during the holiday. We also know some people live alone. So this year, when many of us can't see loved ones, we need to make a special effort.

Staying connected can feel difficult. But being separated doesn’t have to impact time spent together. It might not be the same as human touch and face-to-face contact. But there are a number of ways to connect with other people:

  • Talking on the phone or connecting on social media can help. Video calls allow us to take part in Christmas, wherever we are.
  • Opening gifts together or eating and drinking on video calls can help ease isolation.
  • Some people benefit from the structure and routine of Christmas planning. Finding ways be creative, relax and keep your mind stimulated might help.
  • If you know someone who is alone this Christmas, take some time-out on Christmas day to give them a call and make sure they know someone cares for them.

Find tips for looking after your mental wellbeing on Mind's website

Chat online with our MS community forum

We’re here to make sure no one feels alone in their MS journey. Our online forum is a welcoming community of people who know life with MS. And you can get connect with people from around the UK who might be going through something similar.

Sign up to our MS community forum