Coronavirus Disease 2019 called COVID-19 and Lupus
Coronavirus is a group of different viruses that have a crown-like form (corona). Most types of corona virus cause colds (another virus, rhinovirus, is the most common cause of colds). However, recent years have seen epidemics with more serious infections in the form of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) 2002-2003, MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) 2012 and in December 2019, an epidemic started from the city Wuhan in China with the virus covid-19, also called the 2019 nCoV or the Wuhan virus.
People with lupus are predisposed (at greater risk) to infections because of both their disease as well as the medications they take to manage it. Given that people with lupus are at higher risk for a number of types of infections, including viruses, it is only natural to be concerned about the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely watching the coronavirus both internationally and here in the U.S., while the risk of widespread infection continues to be low in the U.S., It is important for you to look after your health and keep your risk of infection low.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.
Lupus warriors who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Information gathered from several online sources including, but not limited to the CDC, Lupus Research Alliance and Lupus Foundation of America. Art by Singapore artist Weiman Kow. Infographic by Curtis Newbold