This is a subject that has been at the front of MSers minds since this disease started making headlines.
First, let’s dispel some rumors. COVID-19 is related to the flu virus, but it is not the flu virus. It is like comparing chicken breast to chicken wings. Yes, they are from the chicken but there is a vast difference between the two. Honestly, one of the things that scares me the most about COVID is the fact that it is related to the flu virus. Look at it this way. You have someone who has COVID but is asymptomatic. They are potentially someone that can spread the disease. Now, this same patient gets the flu. You now have two viruses that are related to each other. The flu seems to be more contagious. But, what if these two mutate together so now you get the worst of both worlds? This is what scares me. I have not seen any research on this yet, but it definitely feels like a distinct possibility.
But, let us get back to what is now and real, not speculation…
According the the Cedars Sinai blog, MSers are at no higher risk for contracting the virus than anyone else. Let’s get that out of the way off the bat. I know that was a concern that I had when the virus first came to attention. Right now, I am on Tecfidera and it seems that it does suppress the immune system to some extent according to Drugs.com. So we may be a little more susceptible than the average person. The only thing this means to me is never go out without a mask, don’t put yourself in crowded situations if at all possible, and wash your hands often. Personally, I carry hand sanitizer with me at all times.Run into the grocery store to grab a few things? After touching the cart and everything else, use the hand sanitizer as soon as I get back in the car. Takes just a few seconds and is easy to do.
If you do contract the virus, do not worry! Yes, it is a dangerous disease. Yes, if can have a myriad of outcomes ranging from what may seem like a case of the flu all the way up to the possibility of death. However, MSers do not have a worse outcome than is seen in the general population. That means that you can see any outcome just as everyone else. As MSers we are not more likely to get a very bad case. They cannot explain why some people get severe cases and others don’t. But just because you have MS does not automatically mean that you are going to get the worse case. So don’t worry about that. Just take care of yourself and try to prevent spreading it to others.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is easy in this case. Take all normal precautions. Preventing the spread is on everyone. If you do contract COVID-19 then notify your neurologist immediately. This is a case where they must be kept in the loop. Do the same thing as you would when you get the flu, with one large difference. Pay close attention to your breathing since COVID seems to like hitting the lungs hardest, at least in the short term. Other than that, treat the symptoms as usual. If you have a fever, for example, take something that will lower it.
Do not be scared, but be vigilant. If you continue to take care of yourself, then you should be fine.
Everyone have a safe, wonderful, pain free day!