Update 16.03.2020: CoVid19, Additional Cleaning & Disabled Isolation

Additional NHS advice has been added to the list of preventative actions – ‘Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces’. This is especially relevant if you use mobility aids.

I am washing my wheelchair regularly with sterilising fluid diluted with water 3:5. The rims, handles and wheels are the most important as are handles on any sticks, crutches, scooters etc. My local Wheelchair Hub gave me the advice to wipe down with anti-bacterial wipes (70% Alcohol) and any electronics should be wiped down with a soapy cloth.

Above all wash your hands – here’s a reminder


People are now worrying about self-isolation and as a recent tweet from Ch4 presenter Sophie Morgan says….


Expect calls from able bodied friends some time soon????

Self-Isolation Advice

If you’re over 70 or have an underlying condition there may be imposed self-isolation so here are some immediate thoughts on how to pass the time:
  • Use Facetime/Skype etc to connect with friends and family.
  • Structure your day as normal e.g. get up have a leisurely breakfast and always get washed and dressed.
  • Treat it as an unexpected holiday not a prison sentence.
  • Surf the web for all those things you ever wanted to know.
  • Find a game to play – solitaire, online bingo, scrabble etc. preferably with an online partner.
  • Watch a series but don’t binge, take your time.
  • Read those books on your must read list.
  • Don’t watch too much news, listen to the govt. daily briefing, trust the experts and take in some considered views such as this one broadcast today from Dr Clare Gerada is a former chair of the Royal College of GPs who is recovering from the virus.
  • Avoid Piers Morgan’s sensationalism and general media panic. They’re looking for a good story.

Hopefully self-isolation, if you’re not ill, will not be as draconian as the current advice if you have the virus i.e.


  • try to keep at least 2 metres (3 steps) from other people in your home, particularly older people or those with long-term health conditions
  • ask friends and family and delivery services to deliver things like food shopping and medicines – but avoid contact with them
  • sleep alone if possible
  • regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • try to stay away from older people and those with long-term health conditions
  • drink plenty of water and take everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, to help with your symptoms


  • do not have visitors (ask people to leave deliveries outside)
  • do not leave the house, for example to go for a walk, to school or public places
Just remember being disabled puts you, mentally, at an advantage to the able bodied – we know how to cope. Keep calm, don’t panic and breathe – take a deep breath for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 then breath out for 4. 

Coronavirus is all over the news (& the world) and we thought we should bring you a summary of what’s being said particularly with regard to disability.

Being and about in London yesterday was a nervous experience as we saw sanitisers on every reception desk and even a cab driver refused cash as paying by card is ‘more hygienic than handling cash’. That did it for me, Coronavirus is changing people’s lives and behaviour, perhaps forever, from how we greet each other, to stockpiling and perhaps how we care for each other but what to do if you’re disabled?? Is there any special guidance? Here are some resources and advice you may find useful:

It’s still unclear how the virus is caught and both The World Health Organisation, The NHS and The UK Government give the same advice based on how previous viruses have been passed from person to person i.e.

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work/school
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Unfortunately the ‘elbow sneeze’ is not so easy – I got confused when I sneezed involuntarily, my normal reaction was to go for my hands and I quickly changed to my elbow and knocked my drink to the floor in doing so!

Shortage of Sanitisers

Empty Shelves of Sanitisers. But Make Your own With Alcohol, Water & Oil
Empty Shelves of Sanitisers. But Make Your own With Alcohol, Water & Oil

Following this advice sanitisers and antibacterial handwashes are now in short supply. So I contacted my pharmacist who’s put me top of the list when some arrives and he did however, give some great advice – Any sanitiser needs 60-70% alcohol to kill a virus so a substitute is to dilute some vodka or whisky with water and add some oil to prevent drying of skin. Carry this with you in a small bottle and it’s as effective as any high priced potion. As I mix this up, I’m drinking some to keep panic at bay – works for me!!

Another recommendation is Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray, wipe or bleach. I’ve been doing this with my wheelchair and the use of washable gloves when touching hard surfaces is a must with any disability equipment. Similarly, antibacterial washing up liquid and soap has disappeared from shops so my friendly pharmacist also suggested using baby sterilising fluid for washing dishes etc. and it’s the washing action itself that will remove germs, even with ordinary soap.

Disabled Employees in the Workplace

May have underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to Coronavirus and the Business Disability Forum (BDF) has some great advice as employers have a duty to keep you safe. If you feel at risk at work then the ‘best practice’ from BDF is to work from home. Follow the above link to find out more, especially your legal rights.

If employees are not able to do their job from home, but are protected under the Equality Act 2010, being at a higher risk of infection could be seen as a ‘substantial disadvantage’. Therefore employers have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’, at work, under these circumstances. They could allow the person to take time off from work: whether this time is paid depends on specific circumstances.

How To Be Sociable & Safe

Person to person transmission of the disease is believed to be through droplets on the skin and some health experts say use a ‘foot shake’ (see below) or some other contact rather than hugging or touching hands in a handshake. Public Health England and the NHS have not said that these greetings should be stopped they just re-iterate washing your hands is important, and that you should do it when you get to school, work or arrive home; after you blow your nose, cough or sneeze; and before you eat or touch food.

Unfortunately the footshake is difficult if you walk with sticks or use a wheelchair but you could wheelchair tap or stick tap. When meeting other disabled people I’ve often just held an elbow or arm, it’s  welcoming and caring.

Some are even suggesting use the Vulcan welcome from Star Trek….

Use a Vulcan Handshake to Reduce Coronavirus Transmission
Use a Vulcan Handshake to Reduce Coronavirus Transmission

Don’t Panic & Try To Reassure Children

Some young adults and children are becoming upset by reports and this simple advice collated by BBC Newsround is less panic driven and will keep children alert and less worried.

Remember not everyone will catch the virus and some will have mild symptoms. The summer is coming which should make us less susceptible and a vaccine may be available at end of 2020. It’s a good thing that we all take care of each other and take hygiene seriously and there’s always a funny side…..

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