Advice for all people with asthma and COPD

In this section you will find guidelines and resources on:

  • Heading out during COVID-19
  • Restricted movements and self-isolation
  • The use of face coverings for people with ashtma and COPD
  • Returning to work and staying well at work

A Guide to Restricted Movements and Self-Isolation

Cocooning has been allocated to those who are considered to be extremely medically vulnerable including those with severe lung diseases such as severe asthma or COPD. The Asthma Society has provided a comprehensive definition of severe asthma to help patients.

If you have mild or moderate asthma, you will not need to cocoon. However, you are still at risk of becoming ill upon contracting COVID-19 and will need to take necessary steps to protect yourself.

Heading out during COVID-19

Shops are re-opening, travel within the country has been extended, and people are able to head out of their homes for the first time in weeks. This can be a daunting time for someone with asthma or COPD as they are still vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Take precautions when heading out during Phase Two:

Continue to protect yourself: keep two meters apart from others and follow social distancing signs when queueing or shopping. Wash your hands before leaving the home and after you return with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Cough and sneeze into tissue which can be disposed of safely or into your elbow if this is not an option.

Stay Local: current restrictions allow you to travel up to 20 kilometers from your home. Stay local if possible and avoid any unnecessary journeys

Meeting other people: You can now meet up to six people from outside your household for social gatherings indoors or outdoors. Organised outdoor exercise, sporting, cultural or social activities of up to 15 people may take place

Shops: All retail is re-opening. Shop locally, shop safely, and support businesses in your community. Avoid areas that are busy where possible

Cloth Face Coverings: see our dowloadable guide on face coverings for people with asthma and COPD during COVID-19 

Work from home: Continue to work from home where possible. If this you are returning to work, our downloadable ‘Back-to-Work’ checklist can guide you on how to stay save (see bottom of page)

Transport: Walk, cycle, or drive if you can. Only use public transport if absolutely necessary. If using public transport, avoid paying with cash and take into account the new limited capacity due to social distancing requirements.

You will need to restrict your movements if you:

  • live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), even if you feel well

  • have been in close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus)

  • have returned to Ireland from another country

  • if you are living with someone who is cocooning (extremely medically vulnerable)

If any of the above apply to you, you might need to begin to self-isolate. Speak to your GP and your employer


Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people which may be necessary under certain circumstances. You will need to self-isolate if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus (fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, flu like symptoms)
  • if you are waiting to be tested for COVID-19 or if you are awaiting results
  • if you have had a positive test result for coronavirus
  • if you are asked to do so by your GP

How to self-isolate:


  • Stay at home in a well-ventilated room and avoid face-to-face contact with others
  • Monitor your symptoms and contact your GP over the phone if symptoms are worsening
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue. Dispose of tissues immediately after
  • Regularly wash your hands regularly with warm soapy water for 20 seconds and disinfect surfaces
  • Utilise friend, family and local services for the delivery of food, medicines and essentials
  • Manage your asthma or COPD


  • Go to work, or go shopping for food, medicines, or essentials
  • Use public transport or taxis
  • Allow visitors into your home

The above are only guidelines. Speak to your GP over the phone if you feel you think you need to self-isolate.

Phase One: Back to work checklist for people with mild to severe asthma
Cloth Face Coverings for people with asthma and COPD during COVID-19