HEALTH and wellbeing should not be forgotten as people take measures to protect themselves from coronavirus, a GP from Bolton has said.

Dr Jane Wilcock is urging people to take simple exercises, take up hobbies to maintain good physical and mental health.

The family doctor who lives in Harwood said: "Firstly, try not to get coronavirus, aim for excellent hygiene: keep our bugs to ourselves and keep other’s bugs off us.

"Secondly, for general health try to exercise to keep fit ­— optimise your health, keep fit and use hygiene and physical distancing to try to avoid infection.

“There has never been a better time to improve the look of your garden if you have one, or park, to cheer people up and encourage walks out.

"For mental health think about hobbies and relaxations and in case you are going to be self- isolating, get in the knitting, paints, paper, music, DIY, flower and veg seeds, those things that keep you going.”

Dr Wilcock, whose surgery is based in Salford, advised people to do breathing exercises.

"As a rule of thumb any exercises lifting the arms up also expands the lungs. Walking, jogging, cycling are all activities in which you are not close to others or can be done on your own and at no cost. Find your park or local footpaths and enjoy the emerging spring,” she said.

Quitting smoking and healthy eating is a must

Dr Wilcock said: “All chest conditions are made worse by smoking. Coronavirus can cause pneumonia, respiratory distress and a need for oxygen, this is made worse by smoking. This includes smoking drugs like cannabis and to optimise heath stopping smoking is now very important. This is the right time to quit.

"If drug, or alcohol, addiction is an issue contact Bolton’s services Achieve at

"Make an appointment for your general practice to help you stop smoking or find Quit Smoking advice at"

She said that there is no evidence that vitamins boost the immune system.

Dr Wilcock said: "Unfortunately there is no evidence that vitamins or supplements help against coronavirus or boost the immune system.

"Everyone should eat a healthy diet.

"If that doesn’t happen due to illness in a vulnerable age or health group, then a multivitamin might be justified but for the healthy eater it is not required.

"If the elderly or those unwell or vulnerable to illness ends up living inside for some weeks a multivitamin, containing vitamin D, could be considered.

"It is up to the individual. Given that most vitamin D is made by sunlight on our skin ­— making us I always think a bit nearer to plants than we imagine ­— and given that our levels are lowest in winter we could make a case for filling up our body stores with a couple of months of multivitamin containing vitamin D at the recommended daily dose of 10 micrograms a day.

"Alternatively, or as well, when the sun does come out sit in it outside in short sleeves for 15 minutes a day. Vitamin D helps strengthen muscles and bones, important for those who are frail."

Dr Wilcock concluded: "Don’t forget to stay social and contact your friends but use the phone, messaging online and have a key contact for if you become ill who would help you out.

“This is a good opportunity to ask friends and family to help you get online, create family Whatsapp groups and find out where the local support is for friendship, advise, help and practicalities like deliveries if self- isolating.”

- Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, can both become worse with infections, this may be due to any bug and may be due to coronavirus.

The British Lung Foundation is an excellent site for information at for those with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD,

Advice can also be found on website at for asthmatics.

Dr Wilcock said: "You should continue your asthma medications and ensure you have a spare salbutamol inhaler in the home. Make sure your health carers know about your asthma or COPD if phoning with problems. If needing your inhalers more often and feeling wheezy then phone for advice and let the clinician know if you can speak, eat, drink, talk with the wheeze, sleep through the night or are awake with wheeze and how often you are using your salbutamol, or other reliever, inhaler in a day. Tell them if you have had to take oral steroids for exacerbations, if you have been in hospital or in intensive care in the past with your asthma or COPD.

"So ensure you, as the expert in your illness hand over relevant information if phoning the GP practice or NHS111 as unwell."