This content has been prepared in consultation with AAMDSIF Medical Advisory Board Chair Mikkael Sekeres MD, MS of Cleveland Clinic and Co-Chair Olatoyosi Odenike MD of the University of Chicago. (March 11, 2020)
As a person with a bone marrow failure condition, such as myelodysplastic syndromes, aplastic anemia, PNH, etc., you are already taking precautions to protect your compromised immune system. With the emergence of COVID-19, you and your caregivers should be especially vigilant to continue this preventive behavior:
- Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue and clean your hands. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Avoid shaking hands with others.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and discourage people from visiting your home if they have any symptoms of illness.
- Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces with household cleaning spray or antibacterial wipes (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, toilets, faucets, laptops, keyboards and cell phones).
- Avoid travel as much as possible.
- Avoid crowds and large gatherings, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
- To the extent possible, avoid contact with high-touch surfaces in public places, such as elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, touchscreens, etc. Flat surfaces, in particular, are more likely to have viruses or bacteria.
- Contact your physician with any questions or concerns specific to your condition.
- Know where to go for COVID-19 testing, as some local clinics may not have the resources or facility to do the COVID-19 testing or even see you.
Additional advice for patients during active and post-ATG treatment, bone marrow transplant recovery or other bone marrow failure therapy:
- Continue to keep your medical appointments – do not skip your scheduled treatments (medical centers are taking extra precautions to prevent the transmission of coronavirus).
- Continue to adhere to your neutropenic diet, if you follow one.
- Take steps to ensure you have a 3-month supply of your medication and possibly arrange mail order delivery of your meds.
- Be prepared to self-quarantine yourself for up to 14 days where necessary and consult your physician regarding ongoing blood transfusions and treatment.
For more information especially for those at higher risk for complications, visit the Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
Follow the latest updates from trusted sources:
- CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
- FDA at https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-issues/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
- NIH at https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus
- WHO at https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
- American Red Cross Statement Regarding the Safety of the Blood Supply / Need for Donors: https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/press-release/2020/red-cross-media-statement-on-2019-novel-coronavirus.html
AAMDSIF COVID-19 Webinars
- March 13, 2020 Guidance for Bone Marrow Failure Disease Patients to Protect Against Coronavirus (COVID-19) Webinar
- March 20, 2020 COVID-19 Update - Focus on Aplastic Anemia and PNH Webinar
- March 21, 2020 COVID-19 Update - Focus on Pediatric Bone Marrow Failure Patients
- March 26, 2020 COVID-19 Update - Focus on Bone Marrow Failure and Infectious Disease
- March 31, 2020 COVID-19 Update - Focus on High Risk MDS and Secondary AML
- March 31, 2020 COVID-19 Update - Focus on Pre/Post Transplant