COVID-19: 5 Tips for Navigating an Outbreak with Chronic Illness

by Allie Cashel
COVID-19: 5 Tips for Navigating an Outbreak with Chronic Illness

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. keep your medical devices well protected 

PICC lines, glucose monitors, ports, feeding tubes, 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, PICCPerfect® PICC Line Covers may be a good solution for you. Its advanced fabric includes antimicrobial silver ion technology and moisture-wicking to ensure your PICC line stays clean and dry.  For feeding tubes, learn more about securement products that can keep your stoma safe.

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 our self-care 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!

When mask mandates, CDC guidelines, and case numbers change constantly, it can be exhausting to decide what activities are safe for you. Finding ways to live life outdoors or from the safety of your home can minimize some of this stress. Be sure to save time for resting and letting go of the added stressors these last years have brought.

Check out our guide for creating and communicating COVID boundaries here.

4. stay in touch with your doctors

Many of the medications we take to care for our conditions long-term may 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. Most doctors are offering telemedicine during this time, to ensure that you get the care you need without risking exposure.

5. keep masks and sanitizer ready, and let others know your status

You never know when you might end up needing to go indoors or touch public surfaces. Having a mask and hand sanitizer with you whenever you go out is key. And if you’re sick of people wondering why you are so worried about COVID exposure, you can always let this sticker do the talking!

It has been a wild and exhausting pandemic, and it’s not quite over yet. It is ok to still feel anxious, even as the world opens up around you. We get it and are right there with you!

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Ruth Stafford April 28, 2020 - 11:38 pm

I work in healthcare of elderly so risk for them. Im 64. With heart disease so 2nd risk myslef. So im in constant. Fear

Ariela Paulsen April 29, 2020 - 11:26 am

That sounds so difficult! Take care of yourself ❤️

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