The coronavirus scare has been challenging for all Americans. News reports are contradictory, making it hard to understand the who, what, when, why, and how of the coronavirus (COVID-19). And because the statistics change daily, we can’t get a good idea on how many people have been affected by the virus.
If you’re already coping and living with Lyme disease diagnosis, then the last thing you need is to contract coronavirus on top of Lyme. And like most Lyme disease sufferer do, you have so many unanswered questions:
- What life-threatening risks of COVID-19 infection do people living with Lyme disease face?
- Can I visit my Lyme management specialist? What about seeing a doctor for alternative Lyme disease treatments?
- Is Lyme considered an “emergency service” and if so when necessary, can urgent care help? Will I be turned away from medical treatment?
- Can coronavirus make my Lyme disease worse?
In an effort to help improve the understanding and awareness of this infectious disease, we are answering common questions and providing some coronavirus clarity. Let’s start with learning more about infection prevention, transmission, and mitigation of coronavirus disease.
What Is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The coronavirus 2019, also known as COVID-19, is an infectious disease. It mostly affects the respiratory system. It can present flu-like symptoms such as fever and coughing. Because it affects the respiratory organs, like the lungs, it can become difficulty breathing.
Therefore, you should seek treatment at the nearest emergency room if you think you have the coronavirus. The virus spreads when through sneezes and coughs of the person infected. If they do not take precautions to prevent the spread, all they must do is cough or sneeze. The infected particles leave their bodies and land on surfaces in the area.
If you meet the same surface, you are at risk for getting the virus, especially if you immediately touch your eyes, mouth or nose. COVID-19 can incubate for up to 14-15 days before symptoms even begin to surface, lasting for about two weeks or longer.
Coronavirus poses substantial, if not fatal, risks of severe long-term illness – especially for people who are currently living with Lyme disease. There have been deaths related to this outbreak.
Coronavirus Disease Symptoms
As soon as you or someone you know displays any of following symptoms below, get tested:
- Dry cough
- Fatigued, tired, or sluggish
- Aches and/or pains
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Do these coronavirus symptoms sound familiar? They should. They are very similar to Lyme disease symptoms. If you have already been diagnosed and are living with Lyme disease, do not assume these symptoms are just due to Lyme and will go away in time.
Instead, get a doctor to confirm your assumptions. Because symptoms can last for weeks, it’s important you take care of yourself and do what it takes to fully recover. Otherwise, the coronavirus may exacerbate your Lyme symptoms.
How to Protect and Care for Yourself
In the beginning of the coronavirus scare, it was questionable whether this was an actual outbreak. Some people even thought it was made up. Now that we are many months into the problem, we can see that the coronavirus is real and can be deadly. Having a difficult diagnosis like Lyme disease on top of the coronavirus will make your experience and struggle worse if you don’t take care of yourself.
Protect and care for yourself throughout the coronavirus scare. Stay home, especially when you feel great. You don’t want to go out and accidentally contract the virus. Follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for new updates, and comply with the guidelines set forth.
When and Where to Get Tested
As mentioned before, Lyme symptoms can mimic those associated with the coronavirus. You already deal with aches and pains, headaches, joint pain, flu-like symptoms. However, if you start feeling those same symptoms soon, make an appointment with your Lyme-literate doctor.
Consulting with a Lyme specialist is a must, especially if further testing is needed or required. He or she will be able to help you distinguish between the differences in symptoms associated with Lyme disease and coronavirus.
Thus, this is extremely helpful as the growing demand for coronavirus testing will continue to exceed capacity. Limited test availability means you need a doctor referral for testing approval. Your best course of action is to avoid getting the virus.
Coronavirus Infection Prevention
One of the best actions you can take is to get in touch with your Lyme-literate specialist. Together, you guys will create a treatment plan that can boost your immune system now, rather than try to fight the virus later.
There are many alternative treatments that can help boost your immune system – from detoxes and supplements, to diet plans and vitamin infusions. Vitamin therapy infusions mean the essential nutrients your body needs to fight off bacteria are administered directly into your bloodstream. They don’t have to bypass the stomach where they get diluted by acids.
Another type of therapy is called immune modulation. It is a vaccine type therapy that boosts your immune system so it can better fight off bacteria. Intravenous Immunoglobulin therapy takes antibodies from a healthy donor’s plasma and puts them into your body through an IV. The healthy antibodies boost your immune system.
Living With Lyme Disease; Reducing COVID-19 Risk
If you’re currently living with Lyme disease, you may not have the energy or strength to take necessary precautions every day, but in those moments you feel well enough, do the following: clean and disinfect your home; wash your hands; avoid close contact with anyone.
Stay home except when you need to get prescriptions or visit your medical professional. If you go out for groceries and supplies, order online first and then pick them up curbside if your local market has this option. The key is to avoid going into crowds where potential contamination exists.
Because you’re living with Lyme disease, you must take prevention of the coronavirus more seriously than those who are living free of Lyme disease. Make yourself a priority during this time.