For many people, COVID-19 causes mild symptoms, but for some, it can be serious. While we don’t yet know specifically how the virus affects people with Parkinson’s, we do know that older adults and people with serious medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease, may be at higher risk.
There are many things we do know which can help us gain traction on this pandemic and help protect people with Parkinson’s.
COVID-19 and the immune system
The immune system is not just the white blood cells and their chemical effects on pathogens (a bacterium, virus or microorganism that can cause disease) which are critical in the body’s response to the virus. The immune system includes external barriers and functions which allow our organs to keep infections out. The respiratory tract is designed not only around the efficient exchange of oxygen that we need and carbon dioxide that we exhale, but also to keep itself free of foreign particles. Although COVID-19 can pass through the cells lining the respiratory tract, the function of our breathing muscles and rib cage also play a role in helping the body clear infection.
Take home messages
Everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19, so stopping its transmission in our communities is vital.
People with Parkinson’s may be at greater risk of more severe illness if they get COVID-19.
That is why it is essential to avoid infection.
Always, but especially at this time, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself and your Parkinson’s, with everything that means for you:
- put in place a solid and sustainable social distancing regime
- take daily medications on time
- eat well and stay hydrated
- create and stick to a daily home-based routine
- keep moving
- make sure you stay connected – speak to friends and family on the phone, set up videocalls with one or more people…….. and take time off the news and social media.
It’s vital to stay well and play your role in fighting the pandemic.
Where can I learn more?
There is a wealth of information online please do look at some of the following links.
The World Health Organisation is the most reliable source of information about COVID-19 and guidance on social distancing at this time:
For those in the UK, here is additional guidance from Public Health England on social distancing:
And some useful resources from partner organisations
- Josefa Domingos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oa3DmKG8Sw
For those seeking distraction, do join the Insight into Parkinson’s conference from the 1-3 April, an online global conference for PwP, with over 60 speakers presenting on a range of topics and live panels.
Or take part in an online study