Dr Charles Shepherd, Hon. Medical Adviser of the ME Association (MEA), gives a new blog containing important new information and guidance that has emerged since the last main MEA update was published on Tuesday 24 March. It features comprehensive and up to date details on all aspects of coronavirus and ME/CFS, and includes all the latest information and guidance from the UK Government.
This latest blog gives up-to-date information on -
1. Controlling the spread of the virus
2. Testing for the virus
3. What to do if you have symptoms suggestive of coronavirus infection
4. ME Association working arrangements
6. Shopping – Food and Medicines
7. Government Guidance: The vulnerable and extremely vulnerable
9. The new NICE clinical guideline on ME/CFS
10. Can pets catch and transmit the infection?
11. Possible forms of treatment
The blog is followed by the main guidance section, containing -
A. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) – What it is, testing, treatment, vaccination etc.
B. What are the symptoms of the coronavirus infection?
C. What should you do if you have a new onset of cold or flu-like symptoms?
D. Who is most at risk of catching this infection?
E. Why people with ME/CFS should qualify as being vulnerable.
F. Why people with ME/CFS are not considered extremely vulnerable.
G. How can you prevent yourself from getting infected? Can pets transmit the infection?
H. What contact can you still have with other people? Social mobility, distancing, self-isolation and shielding.
I. What help is there for carers?
J. Education and Employment.
K. Shopping, food and medicine delivery.
L. Foreign Travel.
M. Hospital and other medical appointments.
• The 25% M.E. Group inform us of the useful medical information when treating COVID-19 in patients with underlying myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and severe fibromyalgia (FM). The two page leaflet available to download states that if your patient has been diagnosed with ME/CFS/severe FM, you should assume they have a serious, chronic, multisystem illness that may negatively impact their prognosis. The intention of this letter is to provide basic advice and medical/scientific information about ME/CFS/severe FM that can inform medical decisions.
• #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.
• 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’s Advice for people with M.E.
Other than on social distancing, no specific advice has been shared for people with M.E. If you are concerned, we urge you to seek professional medical advice.
Dr Nancy Klimas, Director at the Institute for Neuro Immune Medicine at Nova Southeastern University has shared a video, COVID-19 and M.E./CFS. Dr Klimas recommends following guidelines on hand washing and social distancing, and offers her thoughts on face masks, and taking supplements. She says that people with M.E. “probably are at a greater risk if you're exposed, because one of the underlying problems in M.E. is that the cells that protect you from viruses are less functional. Most of you have plenty of these cells, but they've been working so hard that they've depleted their resources and they're not able to do as much if they come across a virus.”
• Coronavirus (Covid-19): Letter to Supermarkets & MPs
Initially shown on the ME Research UK website, followed by articles from The ME Association, the 25% ME Group, and Action for ME who all write about the need for priority shopping for people with ME/CFS.
• The ME Association told us about a Listening Books offer.
Listening Books, that great online institution who have Stephen Fry as their patron, have come up with a special offer to help people while away the hours while they are in lockdown.
For those who really can’t afford the £20 a year to borrow up to 10 audiobooks a week, they’re offering completely free membership instead. And, unlike some state benefits, there’s no means test – just a requirement from you to pop a note into their honesty box which says you can’t afford the fee.
• 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.