Special update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for kidney disease patients

NephCure is closely monitoring the situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as it continues to develop worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the global outbreak of the coronavirus, and on January 30th, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar II declared it a Public Health Emergency in the United States.

According to the most recent information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of people who are exposed to the coronavirus will experience mild symptoms, and the likelihood for most people to develop serious illness after exposure is thought to be low.

However, older individuals (approximately age 65 and older) and individuals of all ages with underlying health conditions (like kidney disease) or compromised immune systems seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. If you are taking medications like prednisone (steroids), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), cyclosporine (Neoral), mycophenolate (MMF, Cellcept, Myfortic), prograf (Tacrolimus), rituxan (Rituximab), or any other immunosuppressant drug, your immune system is likely compromised.

Prevention is key. We urge you and your immediate family members to take the following precautions now to prevent or delay the spread of the coronavirus and limit your personal risk of exposure to it.

  • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
    • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Why? The virus can be transferred in bodily fluids, including saliva and stool. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Keep space between yourself and others.
    • Maintain at least 3 feet of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    • Why? When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene.
    • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    • Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Clean and disinfect your home.
    • Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones) using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Why? Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning and disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible, cruise travel, and any non-essential air travel.
    • Why? Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

This information has been collected from the CDC and the WHO and has been reviewed by NephCure’s Board Medical Directors.

In addition, you may want to contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary prescription or over-the-counter medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.

If you have additional questions related to you or your loved one’s health, please contact your primary healthcare provider or nephrologist and follow their guidance. If you would like to be connected to a NephCure Specialist in your kidney disease, please refer to our list of experts here. If there are no specialists in your area, many of these doctors will provide a health consultation via phone.

NephCure will continue to monitor world and US-based health guidance, and if new information becomes available that pertains to our rare and chronic kidney disease community, we will provide an updated statement.

Additional information can be found directly from the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

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