Disability-Specific Recommendations for COVID-19

Disability-Specific Recommendations for COVID-19


[Update, April 3]: How Its Transmitted part up to date to incorporate details about new research that counsel asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19 are contagious.
[Update, March 16]: COVID-19 Outbreak Labeled a “Pandemic” and a “National Emergency.” Plus Additional Information for these with SCI/D

The World Health Organization labeled the COVID-19 outbreak a “pandemic” final Wednesday and on Friday President Trump declared a nationwide emergency, which is able to give states extra instruments to fight the virus. These bulletins don’t change any suggestions for the right way to forestall the unfold of the virus, although many states are actually stepping up “social distancing” efforts resembling closing colleges and banning massive gatherings. The Atlantic not too long ago requested public well being consultants in regards to the do’s and don’ts of particular person social distancing, which will be discovered right here.

Sections under which have new data have been labeled “Updated”


You might imagine you’ve heard greater than you may deal with in regards to the current outbreak of COVID-19. But misinformation is rampant, and it may be laborious to know what data to belief. So right here’s a primer about COVID-19 that features disability-specific suggestions for coping with this outbreak and the right way to discover up-to-date data you may belief.

What It Is [Updated March 16]

COVID-19 is a novel respiratory an infection that’s half of a giant household of viruses generally known as coronavirus. Some coronaviruses have comparatively delicate signs, however others, resembling SARS and MERS, could cause rather more extreme signs, like pneumonia, kidney failure and even dying. COVID-19 can even trigger some of these extreme signs, particularly for these with pre-existing well being issues, however to this point it seems that most people who find themselves contaminated expertise milder signs, like fever and a cough. Those at higher threat embrace:

• People with larger stage accidents who’ve impaired lung perform, particularly those that require using a ventilator.

• People with MS or different immunocompromising issues, particularly these whose therapy contains immunosuppression medication.

• People who’ve underlying persistent well being situations, resembling hypertension, coronary heart illness or diabetes.

• People who’ve underlying acute well being situations, resembling pores and skin breakdown or urinary tract an infection, are additionally at elevated threat of extreme signs related to COVID-19, says Lindsey Freysinger, who has a Master’s of Science in nursing, is enrolled within the University of Michigan’s Doctorate of Nursing Practice program and has a C5-6 incomplete SCI. She explains that if anybody with an acute situation had been to contract COVID-19, there could be two separate points for his or her immune system to combat, growing the danger of extreme signs for each. Freysinger recommends that anybody on this state of affairs be vocal with their well being professionals to ensure they’re proactively managing each points as an alternative of solely specializing in Covid-19.

How It’s Transmitted [Updated April 3]

COVID-19 is unfold in the identical manner that almost all different respiratory viruses are — by way of publicity to virus-laden droplets launched when an contaminated particular person coughs or sneezes. If these droplets attain the nostril, mouth or eyes of one other particular person, that particular person may change into contaminated. According to the CDC, present proof means that novel coronavirus could stay viable for hours to days on surfaces produced from a wide range of supplies. If a person touches a floor with viable virus on it and transfers the virus to their mucus membranes (nostril, eyes or mouth, most probably), they may very well be change into contaminated.

Experts at present consider that individuals are most contagious when they’re most symptomatic, however current research counsel that COVID-19 could also be unfold by people who find themselves not exhibiting signs. As this can be a novel virus, it’s best to examine this CDC website frequently to maintain abreast of latest data.

How to Prevent Infection and Transmission [Updated March 13]

The steps that consultants suggest for stopping an infection from COVID-19 are the identical for flu prevention:

• Wash your palms for a minimum of 20 seconds. Some individuals suggest singing a refrain to a favourite tune in your head that will help you gauge the time. If you’ve restricted hand and/or arm perform that makes hand-washing at a sink troublesome, then an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s a minimum of 60% alcohol is ample. Frequent hand washing and sanitizer use can dry out pores and skin, so you could want to make use of lotion greater than regular to keep away from cracks and different pores and skin issues.

• Avoid touching your face. It’s thought that infections like coronavirus can’t enter your system by way of your pores and skin. They want a extra permeable path such because the mucus membranes of your nostril, mouth and eyes. If you’re in a position to keep six ft away from symptomatic individuals, as consultants suggest, and preserve your palms away out of your face, your probabilities of contracting the virus are a lot decreased.

• Cover your cough, however not together with your hand. If you cough right into a tissue, throw it away. If no tissue is obtainable, cough into your elbow.

• Regularly disinfect surfaces, particularly these which are frequently touched. High-concentration (70%) ethanol alcohol mixtures, hydrogen peroxide and bleach are all efficient disinfectants. Manual wheelchair customers, particularly these at larger threat of extreme signs as a consequence of secondary issues, ought to think about frequently disinfecting their push rims. Bleach wipes are simple and efficient.

• Avoid contact with symptomatic individuals.

• Avoid crowds or locations the place plenty of individuals congregate.

This is a growing state of affairs and there could also be extra precautions for individuals vulnerable to growing extreme signs as extra turns into recognized.

How to Manage Caregivers

For those that depend on private help providers, the COVID-19 outbreak will be particularly worrisome. You can’t quarantine your self to stop getting the virus whenever you’re reliant on additional palms to assist together with your day by day wants. Keep in thoughts:

• You are nicely inside your rights to ask caregivers to put on a masks if they’ve been in touch with anybody who has proven attainable signs of the flu or COVID-19, even when they themselves aren’t symptomatic.

• You can ask caregivers to clean their palms or use hand sanitizer earlier than every time they contact you.

But what are you speculated to do in case your caregivers cease exhibiting as much as work or in case your homecare company cuts hours due to staffing shortages? Unfortunately, we don’t have many good options. The New York-based Center for Disability Rights printed an “Action Steps for Attendant Service Users” information that’s most likely essentially the most useful doc on the market proper now. But nonetheless, as Ian Ruder notes in his weblog, “Ensure you’ve ample backup attendants” isn’t precisely a sensible possibility for lots of people. Even with out an infectious illness scare, homecare employees are already in brief provide.

Everyone’s state of affairs is completely different, so the perfect guess could also be to plan in response to your particular person eventualities should you lose private help:

• Are there duties you would accomplish by yourself when you have the correct provides and superior preparation?

• Are there relations who may assist with some duties, pals who may assist with others?

• Have conversations to organize anybody you could must depend on in an emergency.

• If you don’t have another choices, contact your native CIL or different disability-support organizations to see if there are any assets obtainable.

How to Stay Informed [Updated March 13]

The COVID-19 outbreak is a quickly evolving medical state of affairs. As extra knowledge turns into obtainable to well being researchers, tips and finest practices could change. Don’t belief data on social media except you may confirm it by way of a number of, trusted sources. The following organizations will be trusted for fundamental information, however take note of dates and occasions that updates are posted:

• Shepherd Center has already printed a useful, disability-specific information to COVID-19. Check right here for any extra updates.

World Health Organization

National Institutes of Health

The Administration for Community Living has data particular for individuals with disabilities and older adults.

Centers for Disease Control

The New York Times is updating its protection each couple of minutes, and the Washington Post gives a free Coronavirus e-newsletter.

How to Stay Safe [Updated March 16]

While this will all appear overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Complete some fundamental preparations resembling having a provide of non-perishable meals, medical provides, prescription and different drugs, and different requirements. Wash your palms and canopy your cough, and ask these round you to do the identical.

As now beneficial by many well being authorities, follow social distancing. Even should you’re not symptomatic or at high-risk, limiting public interactions helps to restrict the unfold of the virus. The numbers and places of confirmed COVID-19 circumstances are more likely to change quickly as testing turns into extra extensively obtainable. Until there may be extra widespread testing knowledge, its finest to play it secure — for you and people in your neighborhood who could also be at larger threat — by following all obtainable precautions.

Dr. Jerome Stenehjem, the medical director at Sharp Rehabilitation Hospital in San Diego, offers this recommendation for individuals with SCI/D:

“If you suppose you might be in poor health, name your physician as an alternative of coming to the ER or hospital. If you might be having bother respiration, then you want to come to the hospital. In the meantime, chill. No one ever stayed wholesome by worrying. Lastly, keep abreast of nationwide and native updates as suggestions could change.”


Click right here for extra protection on COVID-19 and SCI/D


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