MS and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
MS One to One has been closely following developments in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
We have consulted patient organisations and trusted online resources to ensure you have access to the most relevant, expert information. You will find a host of supportive and factual articles on their respective websites.
As this is still an ongoing situation, this article will provide information based on the current knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 in the context of MS.
If you have specific concerns in relation to your own health or that of a loved one, we advise that you contact your GP, MS nurse or neurologist immediately
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a newly identified coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The current COVID-19 outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, and lead the World Health Organization (WHO) to characterise the outbreak as a pandemic on 11 March 2020.
Symptoms of COVID-19 vary by case but typically include fever, dry cough, and fatigue. Some patients may experience myalgias, nasal congestion, conjunctivitis, loss of taste and/or smell, rash, sore throat and/or diarrhoea. People should seek immediate medical attention if they experience difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement.
Onset of symptoms is typically gradual and worsen over time; however, not all infected patients will feel ill or become symptomatic. Most people who contract COVID-19 will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without the need for hospital treatment. Research to date suggests that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come into direct contact with the eyes, nose or mouth. People may also become infected when they touch their eyes, nose or mouth after having touched surfaces that have been contaminated with COVID-19.
We know many people in the global MS community are still anxious about COVID-19 and concerned about their vulnerability to the virus.
For those living with MS and their caregivers, concerns may be particularly heightened in relation to their treatment. MS Trust and MS Society are two of the trusted resources we will direct you to where you can find further expert information and support.
As well as maintaining physical health during the pandemic, it’s just as important to protect your mental health. This is especially the case for those who continue with self-isolation, which can be tedious, frustrating, affect your mood, and trigger overwhelming emotions. To help overcome these feelings, be sure to keep in touch with friends and relatives as much as possible. Arrange video calls and if you can, group video calls. Keeping in contact will help you feel connected, despite the social distance.
If you’re looking to connect with other people within the MS community, our social media channels have over 44,000 members globally, and is a great space for people with MS to share experiences, ask questions and chat with others who know what you're going through.
Another great way to counter negative feelings is to do what makes you feel positive. Put on your favourite old films or pick up that book you’ve always been meaning to read. Turn this time apart, into time for you.
Most importantly, if you do feel overcome by anxiety or worry, reach out and speak to someone within your support network.
As huge advocates of the power of self-care, MS One to One are always here for you. And as the pandemic continues, we remain dedicated to supporting you during this tough time. Take a look at some ideas we’ve compiled to help you keep your mind and body active and well.
Whether it’s putting on your favourite music and dancing about your living room or joining an online yoga class; keep moving around as much as possible. Also, if you have a garden or backyard, try to get some fresh air every day. And if you do venture back out into public, make sure you stay at least 2 metres away from people who don’t live in your household.
These trusted patient advocate groups and their advisors may be useful for further information on how to keep well physically during COVID-19:
We recommend that you follow these additional trusted resources closely to keep yourself informed about the latest updates related to COVID-19 and MS.
The European Multiple Sclerosis platform is sharing daily COVID-19 updates for people living with MS: http://www.emsp.org/news-messages/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-and-multiple-sclerosis/
The MS International Foundation is also sharing regular updates: https://www.msif.org/news/2020/02/10/the-coronavirus-and-ms-what-you-need-to-know/
If you have specific concerns in relation to your own health or that of a loved one, we advise that you contact your GP, MS nurse or neurologist as soon as possible.
Date of approval: July 2021