How do we stay safe in the “new normal” when on biologic therapy?

This week we’re bringing you the first of our questions submitted by our clients and social media followers! If you have a question you’d like to submit, please email us here.

My daughter has colitis and is on Remicade. My husband and I both work in the school system. We work in small communities where the incidence of Covid-19 has been low, however, when we go back to school in the fall, will we be putting our daughter at risk? How can we protect ourselves?

Thank you for submitting a question which is on many people’s minds in terms of the risk which a return to school will pose to students, teachers, and the members of their families. What we have learned from the experience in China is that people who are well controlled on biologic therapies, such as Remicade (infliximab) for inflammatory bowel disease, did not have a higher incidence of getting Covid-19 than the general public. If they did get the virus, they did not do worse than the general public. This is very reassuring and tells us that the most important thing for your daughter to do is stay on treatment to keep her disease in good control. This will increase her resilience for fighting any infection. Of course if anyone on treatment gets a viral or bacterial infection, we hold their infusion until the infection has resolved.

As decisions are made closer to September, certainly the most vigilant approach would be that all staff and students wear a face covering and practice hand washing/sanitizing when entering and leaving any classroom/library. This will be dependent on the Ministers of Health and Education’s decision with the information they have at their disposal at that time. Reduced numbers within the classroom will also be helpful. When coming home after working in an environment with many people, an extra layer of protection for your family is to remove your clothing before/upon entering your home, and have a shower. Also ensure that everyone in the household has their adult/childhood vaccinations up to date. Getting plenty of rest, reducing stress, drinking water, eating a balanced diet of whole foods, and getting 150 minutes of exercise per week helps make our bodies more resilient and should always be a foundation for good health and prevention of disease.

Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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