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As COVID-19 and fears around coronavirus spread around the world, many members of our community are at the highest risk for infection. Being immunocompromised during cold and flu season is already stressful enough, and the global spread of a highly infectious virus adds significant anxiety for our Friends in the Fight, as well as the need for further precaution.
If you are feeling additional stress during this uncertain time, Mighty Well and your Friends in the Fight are here to support you as you make decisions about how to best manage your health and wellbeing. If you are looking for support or more tips from our Friends in the Fight community, join our Facebook Group!
Here are five chronic illness specific tips for navigating the COVID-19 outbreak:
1. Rebuild your confidence in your medical devices and make sure they are well protected.
PICC lines, central lines, glucose monitors, ports, and other medical devices already increase our risk for infection, and many of us are feeling extra anxiety around these often vulnerable devices. As you move through public places, we recommend taking extra precaution to keep exit sites, lines, and medical devices clean, safe, and secure.
If you are living with a PICC Line, our new PICCPerfect®: Antimicrobial PICC Line Covers may be a good solution for you. Its advanced fabric technology includes antimicrobial and moisture-wicking to ensure your PICC line stays clean and dry.
2. Care for your mental health.
This is a very stressful time for our community. As you take physical precautions, we hope you will also take time to check in with your mental health and seek out support as you need it. Everyone’s needs and anxieties are different, but it’s important to recognize that this may be a time of high stress where may you need additional support.
We encourage you to check out Mighty Well founder and CEO’s mental health strategies as well as our top 5 tips to help you find light in times of darkness. Remember, your Friends in the Fight are always here for you.
3. Stay home and rest when you can!
If it is possible for you, it may be helpful to use this time of heightened concern to stay home and restock your spoons! The CDC has recommended this for all Americans, but this could be especially relevant for members of our community in any corner of the world.
Avoid large gatherings if possible, and consider limiting travel through large airports or other crowded public spaces. It may also be helpful to check out the CDC guidelines here.
4. Stay in touch with your doctors.
Many of the medications we take to care for our conditions long term, like Prednisone for example, further suppress our immune systems. Though most rheumatologists do not recommend stopping medications or changing doses, it is important to check in with your physicians about best practices during this time. Let them know how you are feeling, and ask them about specific steps you can take to maintain your health. They know your case and will be able to make recommendations unique to you.
It may also be helpful to ask a friend to go to the pharmacy to pick up any potential refills, and to ask your healthcare providers to call prescription refills in if needed. That way you can be sure to have what you need on hand.
5. Stock up on antibacterial soaps and wipes.
Whenever possible, sterilize the public spaces you are spending time in. This is especially important in doctors offices. Purchase additional antibacterial wipes to wipe down waiting room chairs before you sit down, and make sure to wash your hands or use a product like Purell throughout the day. The Mighty MedPlanner may help you organize these products so that you can easily have them on hand when needed.
If you are worried about running out of products like these, it may be helpful to ask friends and family if they have extra products they may be able to share. You can also explore making your own antimicrobial soap or wipes. This recipe may be helpful if you ever want to try creating products of your own.
And, as always, wash your hands!
As a closing note: remember that you know your body best! Consult sources and people that you respect, but trust that you know how to make the decisions that are best for you.
What steps have you taken to protect yourself from coronavirus thus far? We want to hear from you! Share your tips and tricks with our Friends in the Fight here.