IMPORTANT PATIENT UPDATES

COVID-19:

We don’t have formal guidelines from the CDC regarding what to do for patients who are immunosuppressed. In general, immunosuppression increases the risk of infections, including viral infections, and increases the risk for more severe illness.

Currently, there is no vaccine or medication to prevent the infection. We are highly recommending PERSONAL infection control as the most important approach for all of us right now.

  • WASH YOUR HANDS with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you cannot wash your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or elbow, throw the tissue in the trash and immediately wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Avoid public transportation and non-essential travel and minimize exposure to crowds.

If someone in your household becomes ill with suspected or confirmed coronavirus, try to isolate that person from yourself as much as possible. If it is an option, consider staying in a different place until that person is recovered and felt to be no longer contagious. You will need to self-quarantine if you have a close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection.

If you are on immune suppressing medication (such as sulfasalazine, methotrexate, azathioprine, CellCept, Cytoxan, any injectable or infusion medication for autoimmune disease, Xeljanz, Olumiant, or Rinvoq), we recommend the following if you do develop signs of infection such as fever, cough, muscle aches, etc.:

  • Stop your immune suppressing medication immediately. This will help your body be better able to fight off any infection.
  • Contact your PCP for instructions about where to go to be evaluated or get tested if needed or go to urgent care or ER if your symptoms indicate you require immediate medical attention.
  • Contact our office to keep us informed of your status.
  • Once you are clearly improving and the infection is resolving, you can resume your immune suppressing medication.
  • If you are on Plaquenil, you may continue the Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine).

Keep in mind this is a highly fluid situation and the current recommendations are based on our present understanding of the situation and may change in the future.

We also recommend visiting the CDC’s webpage about COVID-19 for the most up to date information about the virus. This can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html