Medical professionals have warned that older adults and those with pre-existing medical conditions are more at risk for complications if infected with the COVID-19 virus. We have done some research on what is known about COVID-19 and arthritis conditions based on what has been reported by the CDC and medical scholars. Also, many different existing medications are being tested to see how they may or may not affect the symptoms of the Coronavirus, including medications that are prescribed for arthritis.
Coronavirus and COVID-19
Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. The common cold is a form of coronavirus. This class of virus is named corona or “crown” because of the receptors that give is a crown like appearance when viewed under a powerful microscope. The newly identified type has caused the recent outbreak of respiratory illness and is called COVID-19. Anyone who’s been trying to follow the latest updates on COVID-19 knows how the situation is changing rapidly. This is a brand new strain of coronavirus that has been unknown until recently. Therefore, there are still many unknown factors involving it. And, as doctors conduct more research, more information becomes available.
As of now, researchers know that the COVID-19 is spread most commonly through droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets generally do not travel more than a 3-6 feet, and they fall to the ground (or onto surfaces) in a few seconds. It is believed that the virus can remain on surfaces for up to 72 hours. This is why social and physical distancing is effective in slowing down the spread. And, this is also whywashing your hands, not touching your face, and disinfecting surfaces frequently is important and encouraged.
COVID-19 and Arthritis
There is still a lot the medical professionals do not know about COVID-19, but generally speaking, people who have a higher disease activity of autoimmune or inflammatory arthritis tend to be at a higher risk of contracting infections. People who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions such as arthritis have compromised immune systems. The main concern for complications in people with autoimmune diseases who become sick with COVID-19 or even a seasonal flu is for secondary infections to occur after the viral infection.
If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, you need to contact your doctor immediately for professional medical advice and let them know of medications you are currently taking. Especially any immune-suppressing drugs that are often prescribed for arthritis sufferers.
Arthritis Medications – Is There a Shortage?
A medication that the president has mentioned as having a possibility in helping those with COVID-19 called hydroxychloroquine is now in short supply due to hoarding issues. Hydroxychloroquine is prescribed to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. There has been a shortage already, and this is a concern for the near future. (See Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and Chloroquine Shortage Caused by COVID-19 Coronavirus Claims.) Also, an Eli Lilly drug designed to treat arthritis is another anti-inflammatory being tested as a potential treatment for seriously ill Covid-19 patients. The Adaptive COVID Treatment Trial is testing the anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib to see if it would be effective in blocking COVID-19 from damaging lung cells. Currently this drug is not reported to be in short supply.
There has been some confusion as to whether or not it’s safe to take ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Because ibuprofen may increase a certain type of receptor on human cells that could theoretically strengthen the ability of coronavirus to cause infection, or worsening symptoms, the World Health Organization (WHO) initially recommended against its use. However, because there is no strong evidence that ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory painkillers and fever reducers, like aspirin, make coronavirus worse, WHO changed their recommendation.
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