Information on COVID-19 and Skin Conditions
Please note: The circumstances around COVID-19 are rapidly evolving on a daily basis. We will review and update guidance in line with the latest advice from the HSE as the situation develops. This information was updated on 19th May 2021. Check the HSE Website for regular updates on COVID-19 advice and vaccines and Gov.ie for the latest information on how Ireland is responding to cases of COVID-19.
Restrictions are still in place to protect us from COVID-19. Read about the current government restrictions on gov.ie
People at higher risk from coronavirus
COVID-19 (coronavirus) can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher.
There are 2 levels of higher risk:
Immunosuppressive treatments and steroids
Being on immunosuppressive treatments is not known to increase your risk of getting COVID-19.
Do not stop or change your medication unless your doctor advises you to. If you stop your medicine without your doctor’s advice, you may be more likely to have a flare-up of your condition during this period.
Examples of immunosuppressive medicines are:
- biologic agents
General guidance for people with skin conditions
The ISF operates an Ask-a-Nurse Helpline service where our dermatology nurses provide support, information and general guidance for your skin condition. Submit your question any time by filling out the Ask-a-Nurse form.
The ISF and other dermatology organisations have been working to provide the below up-to-date guidance for people with skin conditions during this rapidly evolving situation. The ISF will ensure this content is regularly updated.
- Tips to Prepare for a Remote/Virtual Hospital Consultation
- Video: COVID-19 Vaccines and Skin Conditions Q&A
- COVID-19 and Skin Conditions – Expert Q&A
- Updated frequent hand washing advice – BAD statement
- COVID-19 Hand Care Advice
- Your Guide to Face Masks and Your Skin
- Back to School & New Routines: Some Practical Tips for Parents of Children with Eczema
Video: COVID-19 Vaccines and Skin Conditions Q&A
This video was recorded on 14 January 2021 with Professor Anne-Marie Tobin (Consultant Dermatologist at Tallaght University Hospital and HSE Clinical Lead for Dermatology) to discuss some frequently asked questions people with skin conditions have about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Rollout of COVID-19 vaccines
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is underway. Vaccines are being given as soon as possible after they arrive in Ireland.
HSE priorities are safety and working to protect people as quickly as we can. The rollout of vaccines will only be limited by supply.
People who are most at risk from COVID-19 are being vaccinated first.
COVID-19 & Skin Conditions – Expert Q&A
This video was recorded on 1st April 2020 with Professor Anne-Marie Tobin, Consultant Dermatologist at Tallaght University Hospital and HSE Clinical Lead for Dermatology, and Professor Brian Kirby, Consultant Dermatologist at St Vincent’s Hospital and a global expert on psoriasis, to discuss some of the most frequently asked questions that the ISF has received about Coronavirus (Covid-19) and chronic skin conditions.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above)
- a new cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
You may not have all of these symptoms. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show. They can be similar to symptoms of cold and flu.
An early diagnosis from your GP means you can get the help you need and avoid spreading the virus, if you have it.
If you have symptoms, do not attend a vaccination appointment if you have one scheduled. You can call HSELive on 1850 24 1850 to request a new appointment date.
Call the emergency services on 112 or 999 if you are very short of breath. For example, if you are so short of breath that you cannot complete a sentence
How coronavirus is spread
The most common way you can get COVID-19 (coronavirus) is by coming into close contact with someone who has the virus. You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.
COVID-19 is mainly spread through close contact and droplets that come from your nose and mouth. For example, from someone who is talking loud, singing, shouting, coughing or sneezing.
This happens when people are within 1 to 2 metres of each other.
That’s why keeping a 2 metre distance from other people is an important way of reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Airborne transmission is the spread of a virus in very tiny water particles, known as aerosols. This can happen over a longer distance than droplets, such as across a room.
COVID-19 can spread easily in crowded or poorly ventilated areas.
To protect against airborne transmission, keep indoor spaces aired out (ventilated) by opening windows and doors when possible. This reduces the risk of infected air building up in a room, corridor or stairwell.
It’s much safer to meet people outdoors than indoors, even if you keep more than 2 metres apart indoors.
Avoid crowded or stuffy places as much as possible. Leave a location if it becomes crowded.
You can also get the virus from infected surfaces. For example, when someone who has the virus sneezes or coughs, droplets with the virus can fall onto surfaces around them.
If you touch that surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you could become infected too.
Getting COVID-19 from surfaces is not as common as getting it through close contact with someone who has the virus. But it’s still important to wash your hands properly and often.
Using common household disinfectants will kill the virus on surfaces.
Protect yourself and others from COVID-19
- wash your hands properly and often with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser
- keep at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) away from people you do not live with (social distancing)
- cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve
- put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
- wear a face covering in public indoor spaces
- follow government guidance about what you can and cannot do
- let fresh air into your home by opening windows, doors and air vents as much as possible
- clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that other people touch
- avoid crowded places where you cannot keep 2 metres apart from other people
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- do not share objects that touch your mouth, for example, bottles or cups
- do not shake hands or make close contact with other people, if possible
- do not wear disposable gloves instead of washing your hands – your hands can get contaminated when you take them off
Restricted movements (stay at home)
Restricting your movements means staying at home as much as possible to avoid contact with other people. It helps to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
When you should restrict your movements
Restrict your movements for 14 days if you:
- are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19
- live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19, but you feel well
- arrive in Ireland from another country, in most cases
You should restrict your movements because there is a chance you may have COVID-19. You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms. By following this advice, you can keep other people safe.
Do not attend a vaccine appointment if you have one scheduled while you are restricting your movements. Wait until you have completed your period of restricted movements. You can call HSELive on 1850 24 1850 to request a new appointment date.
Treat COVID-19 symptoms at home
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 (coronavirus). But many of the symptoms of COVID-19 can be treated at home. About 80% of people can recover at home and without needing to go to hospital.
The vaccines will be delivered in stages so it will take time to vaccinate the population. Read more about the COVID-19 vaccines.
The most important thing you can do is to protect others from catching COVID-19. It is especially important to protect people at higher risk from COVID-19.
- get lots of rest and sleep
- drink enough water to avoid dehydration – your pee should be light yellow or clear
- eat healthily
- avoid smoking
- keep warm
- monitor and treat your symptoms
Read more about symptoms of:
- a fever
- a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- shortness of breath
- lost or changed sense of smell
Medicines to treat symptoms
The best medicines to use will depend on your:
- other medical conditions
- any other medication you’re taking
Paracetamol or ibuprofen may help to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains. Paracetamol is usually recommended as the first-line of treatment for most people.
Antibiotics do not work against COVID-19 or any viruses. They will not relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.
COVID-19 is a virus and antibiotics cannot treat viruses.
It is okay to take ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories (NSAID) if you have COVID-19. There is no evidence that they are unsafe.
Only take one anti-inflammatory medication at a time. It is okay to take paracetamol and an anti-inflammatory at the same time.
Anti-inflammatory medicines include:
- ibuprofen – brand names: Nurofen, Actiprofen, Advil, Brufen, Brupro, Buplex, Easofen, and Fenopine. Ibuprofen gel can be called Nurofen, Melfen, Phorpain, Ibugel and Ibuleve
- naproxen – brand name: Naprosyn
- diclofenac – brand names: Voltarol, Diclo, Diclac, Cataflam, Difene and Flector
- diclofenac – brand names: Voltarol, Diclo, Diclac, Cataflam, Difene and Flector
Get medical help for non-COVID-19 symptoms
GPs, hospitals and other parts of the health service are open and seeing patients. You can also get medical help and prescriptions online or over the phone.
All health services have precautions in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). There may be changes to appointments and services because of the steps we are taking to keep everyone safe.
It’s important to get medical help if you need it. Do not ignore or delay getting medical treatment for any unusual signs or symptoms that you may be experiencing.
If you feel unwell
Phone your GP to discuss your symptoms if you feel unwell. They may give you advice over the phone or arrange to see you in person.
Urgent medical help
If you are feeling very unwell and need urgent medical help, phone 112 or 999. Ask for an ambulance. You can also go to your local emergency department