This week the ME Association (MEA) launched a new leaflet, plus an update to add to the range that the MEA have been publishing since the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and national lockdown. The MEA’s recent Covid-19 leaflets and letters are all available to download at the beginning of their latest update,
- 12 page Covid-19 and ME/CFS Weekly Update - Coronavirus (COVID-19/Cv19) and ME/CFS leaflet
- 4 page MEA information on reducing the risk of infection - Reducing the risk of catching Coronavirus if you have ME/CFS leaflet by Dr Charles Shepherd.
- 8 page MEA information on PVF / PVFS / ME / CFS following Covid-19 Infection - Post-viral fatigue (PVF) and Post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) following Coronavirus Infection.
- MEA statement, signed by Dr Charles Shepherd, in Letter: Asserting your vulnerable status.
- 4 page detailed leaflet - Your Benefits during the Coronavirus Crisis.
Further details of ME Association Guidance (1 to 5) below:
1. MEA leaflet - Coronavirus (COVID-19/Cv19) and ME/CFS
This week’s update, explains the Easing of Lockdown.
The various items of relaxation announced by the Prime Minister mean that changes in relation to exercise, education and employment are moving faster in England than elsewhere in the UK.
But none of these changes are going to have any significant affect on most people with ME/CFS - unless someone is planning to return to work or school.
As far as education in England is concerned, the key point here in relation to ME/CFS is that any return to school is not compulsory - the government has simply issued guidance on returning to school for certain groups of children.
My understanding is that nobody is going to be in trouble, or even fined, if they choose to continue to keep their children at home.
For people with ME/CFS who may now be asked to return to work, or choose to return to work, this has to be on the basis of people being able to travel to work safely. And all aspects of the workplace must be safe in relation to hygiene and social distancing measures.
Employers have a clear duty under Health and Safety legislation to provide a safe working environment.
The Health and Safety Executive has opened a hotline for people to call if they are not happy about what an employer is proposing or doing: 0300 790 6787, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 10.00pm.
If you have concerns about working arrangements you should discuss them with your trade union or professional body representative…
2. MEA leaflet - Reducing the risk of catching Coronavirus if you have ME/CFS by Dr Charles Shepherd
The basis for this guidance -. People who are infected pass on the virus in tiny droplets that are spread from the mouth during coughing, spluttering and even breathing.
Viral droplets can also be passed on by people who are displaying no obvious symptoms. So, a friend, or neighbour, or caller at the door, who looks and feels well could still be infected and spreading the infection.
These virus laden particles then land on surfaces where they remain (for up to 72 hours on some hard surfaces) and can be picked up if someone touches the infected surface. An infected hand or finger then touches the eyes, mouth or nose and the virus enters the body.
This leaflet contains a10-point guide to the most important measures that will help to prevent you catching this infection.
1. Stay at Home
2. Social Distancing
3. Don’t touch surfaces outside the house
4. Don’t touch your face
5. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
6. Post, parcels and shopping
7. Stay safe away from home
8. Take a vitamin D supplement
9. Face masks
10. Meeting a friend or relative
3. MEA leaflet - Post-viral fatigue (PVF) and Post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) following Coronavirus Infection.
Our group’s recent blog Coronavirus (Covid-19): Post Covid-19 Rehabilitation tells you about this MEA 8 page leaflet, and also gives information on a Daily Telegraph article, and Physios for ME.
4. MEA Letter: Asserting your vulnerable status
Go to our group’s update blog of 20 April for further information. This update followed the Government announcement on 16 April -
".. .. the government has determined that current measures must remain in place for at least the next 3 weeks".
5. MEA leaflet - Your Benefits during the Coronavirus Crisis.
The MEA Benefits leaflet has two sections - the first covering benefits for people tested positive for Covid-19 or have the symptoms or for those who share a household with someone in this situation; followed by a section for people on Universal Credit or ESA who have been treated as having limited capability for work but not limited capability for work-related activity (ie “work preparation group” or “limited capability for work” respectively).
The information provided in this leaflet was correct at the time of writing - April 15 - but please be aware that the regulations and guidance are changing daily.
• Action for ME (AfME) have a 'Coronavirus and M.E./CFS' page - which has been set up to keep track of up-to-date advice regarding Coronavirus, and support available from Action for M.E. AfME are monitoring this page, and it gives the time when it was last updated.
AfME explain that it remains essential that people with M.E. follow existing advice about social distancing “to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of Coronavirus.” It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers. If you live in a residential care setting, other guidance is available. AfME advise - those who are at increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures, pointing out that this means those who are: aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions, and those who are aged under 70 with a listed underlying health condition [...including] chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy diabetes.
Given that M.E. is listed as a neurological condition by NHS England, SNOMED (the system used by GPs in England for electronic health records) and the World Health Organisation, we include people with M.E. in this category of increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus.
• ME Research UK are asking you to Chop for M.E. and raise funds for research.
With the UK government encouraging those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has appropriate measures in place to counter the COVID-19 threat to return to their workplaces, a novel issue has arisen - the urgent need for a haircut.
Likewise, for those of us at home - time may seem to have stood still but follicularly-speaking - it has not. It may be that a trim or even something more drastic is needed.
ME Research UK issues a challenge - Chop for ME - to raise funds for our charity. We hope that it can be shared widely and we hope that photos posted with #ChopforME will inspire others. Get a home haircut, donate £10 by mobile phone, and challenge a friend. Please remember to observe all social distancing and health guidelines pertaining to your location.
Become involved in Chop for M.E.
Just Chop your Hair, and donate £10 to ME Research UK. Text CHOPME to 70085 to donate £10; Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message; Post a photo using the hashtag #ChopforME; and challenge your friends.
(This section amended on 27 May 2020)
• #MEAction continue to add information to their Covid-19 Resources page, giving information about the coronavirus outbreak and its effect on people with ME. It includes links to useful governmental sites regarding the outbreak as well as resources and articles particularly developed for people with ME.
• The 25% M.E. Group has leaflets available to download for people with severe M.E. on its website.
- Message from Dr Willy Weir and Dr Nigel Speight, Medical Advisor to the 25% ME Group - Coronavirus Update 7 March
- Message from Dr Nigel Speight, Medical Advisor to the 25% ME Group
Coronavirus and members of the 25% ME Group
Take care, and stay safe everyone.