Preventing Infections and the Coronavirus in Multiple Myeloma
As news spreads about the coronavirus in the United States, myeloma patients want to know how to protect themselves. Preventing any infection is important for multiple myeloma patients. Here are some important tips:
General Infection Prevention
- Hand washing is as important as it has always been. Wash your hands regularly with soap in warm water for at least 20 seconds or water and soap are not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Use hand sanitizer
- Keep your hands away from your nose, mouth and eyes.
- Stay at home if you are sick
- Stay away from family members or work colleagues if they are sick
- Cough or sneeze into the corner of your arm or a tissue and throw the tissue away immediately
- Sanitize frequently touched areas such as doorknobs
- Stay out of crowds if you are immunocompromised and wear a mask when in close spaces
- Consider getting a flu and pneumonia vaccine (as we are still in a cold weather season)
- Practice good food safety if you are neutropenic.
The coronavirus is a virus and not a bacteria, so antibiotics will not work to fight it. There is currently no coronavirus vaccine you can take, although a Phase II study recently opened by Gilead. To stay as safe as possible:
- Avoid traveling to international (and national) areas with a large number of coronavirus cases
- Stay at least 3 feet from people who are coughing or sneezing
- If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, contact your myeloma doctor and follow their directions
- Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. This protects others from getting sick.
- Use cleaning products that the EPA has identified to kill the coronavirus.
You can stay up-to-date on the coronavirus situation in the US on the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites.