The Asthma Society of Ireland has launched its Back2Work Checklist as part of its Life Alongside Covid-19 campaign.
Last month, one in four users of the Asthma Society’s Asthma and COPD Adviceline service looked for additional information about returning to work and advice on safe working conditions during Covid-19.
This Checklist, to support people with asthma and COPD returning to work during the Covid-19 pandemic, is designed to help them manage their condition and remind them of how to best protect themselves in the workplace in light of Covid-19. The Asthma Society’s Back2Work Checklist can be downloaded from asthma.ie
Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: “Over the next number of weeks, many people with both COPD and asthma will be returning to work for the first time since lockdown.
"Many of these people have expressed their concerns about returning to the workplace. In a survey conducted in April, completed by 2,462 people with asthma and COPD, it found that one in four people were concerned about contracting Covid-19 from their colleagues in their workplace.
"These people, who were identified as being vulnerable during Covid-19, need to take extra precautions when returning to the workplace to ensure their risk of contracting Covid-19 is minimal and also to make sure that their condition is well managed to avoid a potentially fatal asthma attack.
"Our Back2Work Checklist will help them do just that and we are calling on both people with asthma and with COPD to follow our checklist to ensure they are as safe as possible at work during Covid-19:”
Asthma and COPD Checklist for Employees
Manage your condition
Complete an Asthma Action Plan or a COPD Communication Card with your GP, respiratory specialist, or Adviceline Nurse
Familiarise yourself with the 5 Step Rule available from asthma.ie Continue to take your medication as prescribed
Always carry your reliever (usually blue ) inhaler with you in case of an asthma emergency. If you are using your reliever inhaler more than twice a week, you may be over-reliant; speak to your healthcare professional
Use the traffic lights system on your COPD communications card
Do some ‘Breathe Easier’ exercises available from copd.ie Phone our Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64, or send a message to our new WhatsApp service on 086 059 0132 to speak to asthma and COPD nurse specialists
Top Tips for managing your condition and keeping well: https://www.asthma.ie/keeping-well-with-asthma-and-copd-during-covid-19
Stay COVID-19 aware
Download the free HSE COVID tracker app from covidtracker.gov.ie Keep a daily diary of people you meet and limit interactions with others
Stay informed with COVID-19 updates from the HSE, Department of Health, and asthma.ie Inform your employer and GP immediately if you experience COVID-19 symptoms; you may need to self-isolate
Protect yourself and others at work
Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water
Cough and sneeze into a tissue or napkin. If you do not have one, turn your head away from others and cough or sneeze into your elbow
Practice social distancing and follow social distancing signs in public places
If required, ensure Personal Protective Equipment is worn correctly and face coverings do not impede your breathing; https://www.asthma.ie/document-bank/cloth-face-coverings-for-people-with-asthma-and-copd-during-covid-19
Refrain from touching your face
Ensure your workplace is safe
Discuss your workplace exposure risk and your asthma related risk with your occupational department/employer and your GP
Regularly clean and disinfect your workspace
Request and familiarise yourself with your employer's business COVID-19 Response Plan: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/Return-to-Work-Safely-Protocol.html
Contact the HSA by emailing [email protected] or by phoning 1890 289 389 if you are: worried about how your workplace is responding to social distancing or other measures an employer and want advice on coronavirus prevention measures in the workplace
Plan your route to work: walk, cycle or drive where possible
If using public transport, try to use off peak times and avoid cash transactions. Use a Leap Card or bus pass where possible. Visit transportforireland.ie for updated timetables and information
Face Coverings are now mandatory on public transport with exemptions for children under 13 or those who have difficulty breathing.
A second version of this Checklist can also be found on asthma.ie specifically for employers. The employer’s version of the Checklist will help employers put measures in place to ensure people with asthma and COPD remain safe in the workplace during Covid-19.
The Asthma Society’s Back2Work Checklist is part of their overarching Life Alongside Covid-19 campaign which was launched to help people with asthma and COPD returning to the workplace and young people returning to education, to stay safe during Covid-19. Over the next number of months, the Asthma Society will be launching additional resources, including a newly updated Asthma Management booklet, a Back2School Checklist, a series of Facebook Lives and a webinar to help ensure people with asthma and COPD and their carers can safely re-adjust to a Covid-19 world.