“… … for people with ME/CFS, social distancing and isolation is going to have to remain for many months to come - until a vaccine is developed (probable), a successful antiviral treatment has been found (possible) or what is called herd immunity has occurred (i.e. a large number of people are now immune to the infection) and the virus can no longer spread effectively.”
Dr Charles Shepherd, Medical Advisor to the MEA gives updates which are now available as downloadable free leaflets. The latest update includes information on -
- Controlling the spread of Covid-19
- Hand and Respiratory Hygiene
- Vaccine Development
- Testing for the virus
- What to do if you have symptoms suggestive of coronavirus infection
- Shopping - Food and Medicines
- Government Guidance: The vulnerable and extremely vulnerable
- ME/CFS Research
- Progress on the new NICE clinical guideline on ME/CFS
- Can pets transmit the infection?
- Possible forms of treatment for the virus
- What should people with ME/CFS do if they catch Covid-19?
- The Face Mask debate
- Vitamin D Deficiency
- What should previously healthy people do if they experience symptoms suggestive of post-infectious fatigue and/or ME/CFS?
- Hospital based referral services for ME/CFS
- ME Association working arrangements
• 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 Essential advice section
The UK Government has issued guidance on protecting those are are defined, on medical grounds, as extremely vulnerable. This group does not include people with M.E. (unless they have additional conditions that are listed in this category).
The UK Government is asking people to register “if you have a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. For example, you’ll be able to ask for help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food.” Please be aware that the criteria is very specific. Our understanding is that you are only eligible for this support if you received a letter from the NHS asking you to stay home for 12 weeks.
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. They are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. This means those who are:
- aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions
- 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.
• Physios for ME Covid-19 statement.
During this national crisis many physiotherapists have been redeployed to front-line services, but as time goes on our attention will shift to the rehabilitation of survivors.
COVID-19 is a new virus so rehabilitation can only be based on generalised experiences. Universal presentation after a period of critical illness includes significant muscle loss and impaired cognitive function, with the standard approach to addressing such deconditioning involving mobilisation and exercise. Once medically fit many patients will be discharged home as quickly as possible, with community teams picking up the remainder of the rehabilitation process.
It is vital for physiotherapists (and any other treating health professional) to understand a potential complication of a viral infection - Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS).
Swift identification of PVFS is important because the management techniques differ to the typical reconditioning approach that a physiotherapist may adopt. PVFS has strong links with development of ME, which is why we have taken particular interest in getting these messages out there to our colleagues.
Inappropriate management advice is already out there, and together with our allies we have already challenged one such publication. More about that, and why inappropriate management can be so detrimental, can be read here.
• #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. https://www.meaction.net/covid-19/
• 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.