Everyone has many questions and concerns about how to take care of their health and avoid getting sick during the coronavirus pandemic. But these issues can feel even more amplified if you’re living with inflammatory arthritis or a related rheumatologic condition.
Patients are concerned not only about not catching COVID-19, but also such issues as:
- Managing chronic illness symptoms like pain and fatigue
- Maintaining access to medications
- How to safely see health care providers in person and/or adjust to telehealth visits
- Understanding the possible immune system side effects of medications
- How co-occurring conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and others affect the risk of possible COVID-19 complications
- Coping with mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and social isolation
- How work and financial changes affect all of the above
There no quick and easy answers to any of this, but after many weeks of continually speaking with leading rheumatology thought leaders in clinical care and research, we know the answer starts with this:
Rheumatology patients must stay in touch with their physicians, maintain regular appointments (either in person or virtual) and continue to communicate and discuss any concerns.
We developed this infographic with input from United Rheumatology, a rheumatology care management organization that serves more than 600 independent rheumatologists across the U.S. to share key messages about how you can navigate the rest of the coronavirus pandemic.
If you haven’t been in touch with your doctor lately, we encourage you to use this as jumping-off point to connect.
For ongoing information, support, and early access to resources like this, join our Coronavirus Pandemic Support Program for Chronic Illness Patients.
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ACR Infusion Guidance During COVID-19 Crisis. American College of Rheumatology. April 11, 2020. https://www.rheumatology.org/Portals/0/Files/ACR-Infusion-Guidance-COVID-19.pdf.
How to Protect Yourself and Others. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html.
Mikuls TR, et al. American College of Rheumatology Guidance for the Management of Adult Patients with Rheumatic Disease During the COVID-19 Pandemic. April 29, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/art.41301.