There is no reason to believe that having Parkinson’s raises the risk for contracting the coronavirus.
The webinar “Information Coronavirus for the Parkinson’s Community” sponsored by Michael J. Fox Foundation on March 19 opened with the above reassuring thought.
David Aronoff, MD, Director of Division of Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University
Katherine Leaver, MD, Assistant Professor Neurology, Mount Sinai
Caroline Tanner, MD, PhD, Professor Neurology, University of California-San Francisco
Ted Thompson, JD, Senior Vice President, Michael J. Fox Foundation
Who is at Risk?
The response to the virus varies wildly from being asymptomatic, a nuisance to hospitalization and to death. If you are above the age of 60, you are a major risk for more severe symptoms and worse outcome. The same is true if you have a compromised immune system from cancer treatment or have heart disease or diabetes.
Since many people with Parkinson’s are over 60, it is recommended to take special care. You may feel worse symptoms such as being “off” or moving more slowly if you get the virus. But you will return to your PD baseline when you feel better. If you are more advanced with PD, or are frail or weak, you will take longer to recover.
The virus is spread by respiratory droplets with a range of transmission six feet. The virus lives on surfaces such as tables, door knobs and hands. When you inadvertently touch your face, eyes or mouth, you may increase your chance of transmitting the virus. Staying home and using proper hand hygiene will help keep the virus from spreading like wildfire.
Finding Reputable Information
Avoid the mania in social media. Instead focus on two or three reputable sites such as Health and Human Services (HHS) and Center for Disease Control (CDC).
If you want to take medicine to treat or lessen any of the symptoms of virus, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. For example, ibuprofen may harm the kidneys or cause stomach ulcers. Acetaminophen found in Tylenol, Nyquil and Theraflu can cause liver toxicity.
Pharmacy, Insurance and Office Visit Changes
Having access to your PD medicine and getting refills is a current concern. Check with your insurance company. Some companies are waiving the 30-day limit. Some pharmacies are offering free delivery. Telehealth services by phone or computer are even being offered by various medical offices.
Minimize Effects of Isolation
You need to minimize the effects of isolation. One way is to keep moving. Take a walk outside keeping in mind social distance. The sunshine and fresh air will help relieve stress, fear and anxiety. Find an online exercise resource and work out. Be proactive and reach out to family and friends by using technology to stay connected.
Follow reputable news sources only
Good change in telemedicine is resulting
Help is available
For more information about Michael J. Fox webinars, visit here