Dear Gut It Out Family,
We wanted to reach out and share some thoughts during this difficult time, particularly for our fellow IBD warriors, and we mean patients, friends, families, acquaintances - everyone.
We are all dealing with a challenging time around the world, the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its resulting disease called COVID-19 has lead to a great deal of concern and fear. The hallmark symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath.
The simple and best approach at this time is social distancing. That is the intentional separation or increase of space between people to prevent the spread of this disease. The CDC recommends high-risk individuals to avoid groups of 10 or more and to maintain a 6 feet distance between individuals. Additionally, good hand washing can eradicate the virus and prevent spreading. Stay home if you can! It will save lives.
Lastly, let’s talk about our friends and family who have IBD. It’s important to stay on your medications, whether they are oral anti-inflammatories, biologics or immunomodulators. With these medications, your body generally has an intact system to fight viruses but stopping them suddenly risks a potential flare which can make you more susceptible to infections. There are already worldwide initiatives (SECURE-IBD) to understand this disease and it’s potential affects on patients with IBD.
An additional medical tip: if you have to go in for an appointment, notify the clinic that you will be waiting in your car until they are ready to call you back into a clinic room. They can reach you on your cell and you will come straight up. Don’t wait in the waiting room!
So in summary, stay at home, wash your hands, connect with your family, enjoy the downtime, stay positive, and we will get through this together!
This is a link to a great resource from our friends at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation: https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/coronavirus-update/adults
Even if you are not at high risk, help protect those in your community that are, thank you!
Ashish S. Patel, MD
Associate Clinical Director, Pediatric GI
Director, Southwestern Center for Pediatric GI
UT Southwestern Medical Center