Covid 19, MS and Lockdown Update
These have been anxious times for everyone and especially those who have long term health conditions like MS.
Inevitable questions arise regarding how vulnerable you are if you have MS, how to maintain the help you need in lockdown and its aftermath and how any medication you are taking affect the risks associated with MS treatment in the time of a very nasty pandemic? In situations like this with such a new challenge we have not faced before there are more questions than easy answers adding to anxiety and concern.
In the UK most people who have MS are managed by specialist multidisciplinary MS teams who have been doing their best to offer support and advice to the MS community in their area. Most are offering telephone help lines to maintain contact with those who have concerns and to deal with any urgent problems where a hospital appointment may be needed. These are usually manned by specialist MS nurses who can offer advice or refer on to neurologists or therapists as needed.
The one thing we can be certain about is that in situations like this, learning how to manage health conditions and understand the impact of new health risks is vital. In the case of MS, data collection and evaluation of all aspects of care and support are being noted and discussed both formally and informally. Behind the day to day management of MS, significant organisations like the international MS Data Alliance will be collecting, tracking and organising all aspects of data arising from the first-hand experience of coping with MS management and treatment so that the valuable lessons gained during this outbreak can inform actions needed in any further outbreaks of Covid-19.
While this has been an unprecedented disruption in normal healthcare it has also provided many opportunities to learn and prepare for other possible events and enabled healthcare professionals to seek other ways of managing long term conditions that may have far reaching impact on the way we offer healthcare in the future.
To offer advice on a range of questions at this time is difficult must await more information and analysis but in general follow the rules as best you can:
Protect yourself and those close to you by whatever means possible
Stay alert and follow general advice on hand washing and social distancing
Stay in contact with your local MS and other support teams
Do not hesitate to ask questions and seek help if you need it
Most of all try to stay positive and hopeful-you do not need to face this alone!