As the global impact of COVID-19 grows daily, our priority is always on the health and safety of our ITP community. Here we share important disease and treatment information and helpful resources to keep you current and informed. Visit the ITP Conference page for current developments surrounding COVID-19 & ITP Conference 2020.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION RE: COVID-19 & ITP
According to several of PDSA’s medical advisors and ITP experts, there is very little to no added risk for ITP patients being infected by COVID-19, but a patient’s ITP may worsen if they get the virus. There is no literature to support the virus would suppress platelet production any more than influenza, but some ITP patients seem to be more sensitive to systemic viral infections than others in general.
While there is no known data on COVID-19 and patients being treated with corticosteroids or immunosuppression, the risk of immunosuppression with high dose/protracted steroids, rituximab or other immunosuppressive drugs is comparable to influenza or other systemic viral illnesses. It is recommended that ITP patients being treated with these therapies be extra diligent: frequent hand washing, avoiding overtly ill persons and seeking early medical attention if they develop symptoms compatible with this infection.
ITP patients who have had a splenectomy are not predisposed to getting the COVID-19 virus. However, they might have trouble handling certain bacterial infections which might happen as a complication after a COVID-19 infection. That is why patients without spleens are encouraged to make sure they are up to date with their three vaccines: H influenzae (this is not the flu vaccine), Pneumococcus, and N meningitis.
IMPORTANT INFO FOR SPLENECTOMIZED PATIENTS
In general, the most common cause of an overwhelming blood stream infection after one has had a splenectomy is from pneumococcus, which is a type of strep. The best ways to prevent, avoid and treat it are:
- Get the pneumococcal vaccine every five years and check the response to it by having blood sent for antibody levels
- Always have antibiotics available at home so if anything happens they can be started immediately
- Plan to go to the emergency room immediately at any time there is a fever of 101 degrees or higher no matter how you feel. Do not wait to see if the fever responds to Tylenol and do not wait until the morning. If the fever happens at 3 a.m. you should be leaving home at 3:05 a.m. You will need to have a thermometer on hand and should take your temperature whenever you feel ill even if you do not feel very warm. Ideally, when you get to an emergency room, a blood culture would be done, a blood count would be drawn, your blood pressure and other things like your temperature, pulse, respiration (breathing) rate would be assessed and ideally you would get an antibiotic such as ceftriaxone right away. After that you need to be observed.
Some physicians recommend antibiotic prophylaxis to be taken daily for life after splenectomy and that’s usually penicillin.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: COVID-19 & ITP
GENERAL COVID-19 INFO & RESOURCES
- CDC’s Coronavirus website HERE
- Daily updates on COVID-19 from the CDC HERE
- Managing anxiety & stress during COVID-19 from the CDC HERE
- Reports show children are infected by COVID-19 less often and seem to be less affected by the virus, but it is important to remain vigilant, especially if your child is immunosuppressed. READ MORE
- Coronavirus anxiety resources from Shine HERE
COVID-19 RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT NEWS
Emerging scientific developments around COVID-19, including clinical trial, test kit, therapeutic progress information and more from the Immunoglobulin National Society’s R&D Progress Report on COVID-19 HERE
- Coronavirus vaccine trial administers first doses to participants
- FDA to allow COVID-19 test kits to bypass the agency’s approval process
- New rapid COVID-19 test produces fast results
- Multiple therapeutic investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 infection
- Selected repurposed drugs in clinical development to treat COVID-19
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide information to our patients and caregivers on COVID-19 and how it might affect ITP patients. Please continue to check the PDSA website, Facebook page and other communications from PDSA.
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