IMPORTANT PATIENT UPDATES
COVID-19 cases and deaths have continued to rise in the US. Although we now have two approved vaccines (click here for more information about vaccines) for the prevention of COVID-19, we must remain vigilant. The CDC recommendations to slow down the spread of the disease include:
- Wear a mask with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric that fits snugly against the sides of your face.
- 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.
- Stay at least 6 feet apart from others who do not live with you and avoid crowds.
- If you are going outside avoid indoor spaces as much as possible, particularly ones that aren’t well ventilated.
- If you are sick, stay home except to get medical care and isolate.
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 (hydroxychloroquine), you may continue it.
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 recommend using the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker, it is an interactive clinical assessment tool that will assist individuals ages 13 and older, on deciding when to seek testing or medical care if they suspect they or someone they know has contracted COVID-19 or has come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
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
© RHEUMATOLOGY ASSOCIATES, 2020.