Long-term health conditions

Living with long-term health conditions in the time of COVID-19

We have all experienced some stressful times and living with a long-term health condition may be adding to your concerns. You can find advice here that will help you get through this tough time.

Alert level changes

We are a team of 5 million and it's hard to hear about community transmission and changing alert levels across Aotearoa. There are plans in place for this happening and action is being taken to keep us safe.

We've dealt with COVID-19 before and we can do it again. We've got this!

More information on alert levels 

Get information from trusted sources

When you’re at increased risk from COVID-19 due to a health condition, it’s even more important to seek out accurate, reliable and up-to-date information from trusted sources. The Unite against COVID-19 website is the New Zealand government’s source of current information. Even if you don’t have any data you can access this website from your device for free.

We’ve provided links to key agencies at the end of this page

More information on Alert Levels.

Managing stress and distress

As we all continue to live with the uncertainty of the pandemic, it’s common to feel stressed, anxious or frustrated with the impact it is having on our lives. If you or your whānau are living with a long-term health condition this information will help you with your wellbeing.

Wear a mask

We know that wearing a mask significantly reduces your risks of contracting COVID-19. As someone with a health condition this may already be standard practice. We know that COVID-19 spreads through aerosols and droplets when someone speaks, laughs, coughs or sneezes, even if they don’t have any symptoms.

When physical distancing is not possible, it’s particularly important to protect yourself and others by wearing a mask.

For more information on face coverings see the Unite against COVID-19 website.

Stay in touch with your health professionals

Please contact your local doctor or specialist to help you manage your health needs.

  • If you’re anxious to attend in person your doctor might offer a phone or videoconference consultation rather than see you in person, so give them a call or send them an email first.
  • If you are severely unwell, for example having trouble breathing, dial 
  • If you have symptoms of cold or flu call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (or international +64 9 358 5453) and ask about getting tested for COVID-19.

Keep track of where you’ve been

It’s likely we will need to manage community transmission of COVID-19 for some time. Contact tracing increases our ability to keep you and your community safe. By keeping a record of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen this can prevent further outbreaks of the disease

Download the NZ COVID Tracer app or simply make a note of where you’ve been in a notebook, diary or on your phone.

More information on contract tracing and why it’s important. 

How contact tracing works

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If you need extra support or to speak to someone

Free call or text 1737 anytime of the day or night to talk with a trained counsellor.

Keep moving, eat well, sleep better

There are multiple aspects to our health and wellbeing. You can do some key things to support your physical and mental wellbeing.

  • Healthy eating is about choosing a variety of healthy food including lots of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes, pulses, low-fat dairy and nuts. Try and avoid foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fats. Drinking plenty of water also helps you feel good. For some new whānau recipe ideas visit the Healthy Kids website.
  • Getting enough sleep is important for your overall wellbeing. Aim for 7 to 8 hours and try to maintain consistent bed and wake up times. Including some physical activity in your day can help promote good quality sleep.
  • Regular physical activity is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. Aim to get outside and move your body every day. It might help if you schedule in some activity at a similar time each day. Remember that any physical activity is better than none. Try and find something that you enjoy and don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Avoid using unhelpful coping strategies such as tobacco, alcohol or other drugs. In the long term, these can worsen your mental and physical wellbeing.
  • The Unite against COVID-19 website has some great advice on looking after your mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Try digital wellbeing apps

There are also lots of new apps, online groups, and community services popping up all the time, so it’s a good time to try something new and find the support that works for you.

  • Try The Journal. It’s a free, personalised programme to help you manage anxiety or depression and is a helpful tool for anyone having a tough time. You’ll be guided by a team of experts through lifestyle and problem solving skills to help you stay positive.
  • Try the new Mentemia app from All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan.
  • The health journal app Melon provides a health journal, resources and self-awareness tools to help manage your emotional wellbeing.
  • There’s also an eTherapy programme called Staying on Track that teaches practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption to everyday life.



Reliable, accurate and up-to-date information

To ensure you have the best advice, following is a range of organisations to support you and your whānauThese organisations work in your community and can provide more detailed information for a range of health conditions.

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