On Saturday 5th September, from 3pm we settled in for another #AddisonsQA Twitter chat. This time we set out to get everyone talking about that first week at school or work that many are facing this month.

Once again we were really pleased to have an excellent expert panel consisting of consultant endocrinologists, specialist endocrine nurses, education professionals and ADSHG members, ready to answer our #AddisonsQA questions!

With the #InternationalDayofCharity hashtag also whizzing around Twitter our Addison's theme chat was lively, supportive and informative. Thank you to everyone who joined in and shared their views and questions.

Below we’ve included the 6 questions we asked our experts and some of the great advice and tips sent in by medics and people living with Addison’s.

The key pieces of advice we took away were:

  • School: Keep in close contact with your school and communicate regularly. Make sure the school is fully aware of the needs of the pupil and their Individual Health Plan (IHP) is up-to-date. Read more here. 
  • Work & Employment: Your workplace should be 'COVID-secure' and you can request a personal risk assessment. Read more here. 
  • NHS Steroid-Card: print a copy or keep electronically on your phone to keep the card with you at all times. Knowing you are prepared can help reduce any anxiety.
  • Precautions: wash your hands for at least 20 seconds making it part of your daily behaviour, keep hand sanitiser handy with your medication, wear a face covering, keep rooms well ventilated (keep those windows and doors open!) and keep 2 metres apart where possible.
  • Up-to-date medications & injections: Check your emergency kit is in date and you have all essential components (needles and syringes). Read more here. 
  • Emotional Impact of COVID-19: Take your time. Many people are anxious but being steroid-dependent adds to the complexity. The world is very different and we're all learning. Reach out for support, share concerns and speak with people in similar situations on our private online forum.

Follow us on Twitter at @AddisonsUK to hear about our next twitter chat. Questions? Please get in touch on [email protected]

The conversation is continuing on our online forum under our dedicated Coronavirus forum. Log on to speak to others in the same situation to offer mutual support and help.

Q1. Are there any precautions a steroid dependent person needs to take to keep safe if returning to the office or school, on top of the official Government guidelines?

Q2. What's the one thing you'd advise a steroid dependent person to do before returning to school or work to minimise risks?

Q3. What can parents/carers do to help the steroid dependent person minimise any risks of infection or exposure?

Q4. Is there anything colleagues and managers can do to help keep people who are steroid dependent (and need to be physically in the office) safe?

Q5. What are the signs a person with Addison's/adrenal insufficiency may need emergency care?

Q6. Apart from the potential physical risks of going back to work, many people will also be feeling anxious. Is there anything steroid dependent people in particular can do to help manage their mental wellbeing at this time?

A big thank you to our expert panel:

Lisa Shepherd, UK, Endocrinology Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Birmingham.

Anna Mitchell, UK, Consultant Endocrinologist at the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust

Helen Simpson, UK, Consultant Endocrinologist at University College Hospital London

Stephen Ball, UK, Professor of Medicine & Endocrinology, Manchester

Sofia Llahana, UK, Senior Lecturer, Consultant Nurse, University College Hospital London

Miranda Payne, UK, Pituitary Foundation

Juliet Edwards, UK, SENDCO in Education. Juliet and her daughter have Addison's.

And to all our wonderful members who fed in their experiences and encouraged new friends to share their thoughts.