The Medical Advisors to the Canadian Spondylitis Association have provided the following recommendations for the SpA community related to Coronavirus.
1. There is no need to panic. Although new cases are occurring daily, Canada still has a low number of infected individuals. But we must not ignore the risks of the coronavirus and should be cautious and take appropriate precautions.
2. Patients should NOT stop their biologic. Stopping will likely cause your disease to flare. There is emerging evidence that active inflammatory joint disease may make coronavirus worse in an infected individual.
3. If a patient taking biologics starts to develop cough or shortness of breath or a fever, they should temporarily discontinue their biologic and seek medical attention. Patients are advised to discuss with their physician any interruption in treatment. Restarting biologics should be discussed with the physician, but generally may be resumed after their symptoms have completely resolved and they have been feeling normal for 2 weeks.
4. Stay healthy. That means avoiding alcohol, getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating a balanced diet. All of these are important for maintaining a healthy immune system.
5. People should follow travel guidelines from the public health authorities and practice good hygiene – washing hands often, especially after touching any surfaces in public areas. Avoid touching the face with hands. Sneeze into the sleeve if necessary. No hand-shakes or hugs and avoid highly populated gatherings.
6. Be sure to call your doctor before visiting an office or clinic if you have developed a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing.
The SAA, with support from Dr. Reveille, has also provided some good information to consider that can be found here.