Updated March 11, 2020
On behalf of our lupus community, the Lupus Research Alliance is following closely reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the country’s health protection agency, about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 called COVID-19. People with lupus are predisposed (at greater risk) to infections because of both their disease as well as the medications they take to manage it. Recognizing this increased susceptibility and the importance of being well-informed in order to take appropriate actions, we are sharing the below information from the CDC.
Most recently, the agency issued a statement noting that while the risk of widespread infection continues to be low in the U.S., it is important to prepare for the possibility. As with any respiratory illness, the agency recommends ways to protect against infection that everyone should follow, and particularly the elderly, children and people whose immune systems are compromised (weakened).
Steps to Prevent Infection
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent infection is to:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when not near soap and water
- Clean and disinfect areas you and others touch often
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
- Stay home if you are sick and consult your healthcare provider
Travel Caution from the CDC
The CDC is also a good resource for advice about traveling outside of the U.S. Here are their current recommendations:
- Avoid travel to the People’s Republic of China, Iran, South Korea and Italy unless necessary.
- Older people and those with chronic medical conditions are advised to postpone travel if possible, to Japan because of the current cases of disease seen in these countries.
- Before traveling to other countries, check the CDC’s travel health notices for updates.
Additional Sources of Information
The American College of Rheumatology provided guidance for people who have rheumatologic diseases including lupus. Suggestions for prevention agree with the CDC recommendations; however, the overall content is specific to the concerns of this population.
According to information published in the highly respected Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA pointed out that the risk of COVID-19 is far lower than the flu.
Click here for guidance concerning COVID-19 specific to people with rheumatic diseases, including lupus. from the Department of Medicine at Hospital for Special Surgery for people with rheumatic diseases, including lupus.
The Lupus Research Alliance is consulting with our top scientists and physicians around the world about any further steps people with lupus should take and will post updates as we learn more.