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The coronavirus and MS

brittany-colette--CDN2nTKfrA-unsplash.jpgThe recent outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 has reached the UK and the Government has advised everyone to take precautions to avoid catching and spreading the condition. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms of infection are having a cough, a high temperature, and shortness of breath which can lead to pneumonia.

Because this is a new strain of virus, experts say there is a lot we still don’t know about how it will affect people with multiple sclerosis (MS). What we do know is that if you use disease-modifying therapies, as many people with MS do, then you have a higher risk of complications from viral infections, as some DMTs change your immune system.

If you are worried, please talk to your health care practitioner who will be able to advice you on the best course of action.

Protecting against coronavirus

The World Health Organisation has provided the following advice for people to protect against COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue
  • Keep at least one meter distance between yourself and others, particularly those who are coughing and sneezing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Practise food safety by using different chopping boards for raw meat and cooked foods and wash your hands between handling them

You should also avoid contact with anyone who has travelled recently to an area where the coronavirus has broken out. The World Health Organisation provides regular updates on cases around the world here https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/

In the UK, the medical advice is that if you have recently travelled from areas affected by coronavirus, or been in contact with someone who has, and developed flu like symptoms you should…

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
  • call NHS 111 to inform them of your symtpoms and they will advise you on what to do next