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Coronavirus (COVID-19): FAQs for people with Crohn’s and Colitis

Frequently Asked Questions

What is coronavirus?

How does mortality risk from coronavirus compare to seasonal flu?

What can I do to lower my risk and help protect others (social distancing)?

Is social distancing the same as self-isolating?​

My child has Crohn’s or Colitis, what should I do?

What to do if I have symptoms?

How long should I stay at home (self-isolate)?

What does staying at home (self-isolating) mean in practice?

What do I do after 7 days?

When should I contact the NHS for advice?

I’ve got coronavirus symptoms, should I stop taking my medicine for Crohn’s or Colitis?​

Am I in the government’s ‘high risk’ or ‘vulnerable group’?

Am I at extra risk because I am taking an immunosuppressive/immunomodulating medicine?

Should I stop taking my immunosuppressive/immunomodulating medicine?

Should I stop taking 5-ASAs?​

Will I get sick pay if I can’t work and have to stay at home?​

I’m self-isolating – how do I get a sick note/isolation note?

Can I claim any benefits?

Our fundraising events

Who should I contact if I am worried?

What is coronavirus?

Novel coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2) is a virus you can catch from other people. It causes respiratory infections, which can make you cough and have difficulty breathing – but for most people, the infection will be mild.

The virus started in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China but cases have now been confirmed across the world, including in the UK.

Public Health England has assessed the current risk to the UK public as high and is working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international partners constantly to review the situation.

How does mortality risk from coronavirus compare to seasonal flu?

You’ve probably seen predictions about the possible numbers of deaths in the UK from the coronavirus outbreak in the news. Every year there are deaths from seasonal flu, and it might be helpful to put the predictions about coronavirus into context.

Since 2014, the average number of deaths per year from seasonal flu in the UK is 17,000. This has ranged from 28,330 in 2014/15 to 1,692 in 2018/19. People over 65 have been most affected.

What can I do to lower my risk and help protect others (social distancing)?

Everyone, whether they consider themselves to be healthy or not, should reduce their contact with other people. This is called social distancing.

This is necessary to reduce the spread of coronavirus and protect the most vulnerable people in the community.

Everyone should take actions to socially distance themselves from others, including:

  • Avoiding contact with people who have coronavirus symptoms – including high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
  • Avoiding non-essential use of public transport or varying your travel times to avoid rush hour where possible.
  • Working from home if you can. You should speak to your employer about how they can support you to do this.
  • Avoiding large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, and clubs.
  • Avoiding gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
  • Using telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

People considered at a ‘high risk’ or ‘vulnerable’ should be extra careful to follow this advice. See Am I in the government’s ‘high risk’ or ‘vulnerable’ group?

To help reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitizer gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use a sanitizer gel if soap and water are not available. This is especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, after using public transport and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Is social distancing the same as self-isolating?

Social distancing is not the same as self-isolating.

Self- isolating is for anyone with symptoms, anyone living with someone with symptoms, or anyone in the highest risk category. Self-isolating is staying at home and avoiding all contact with other people. See What does staying at home (self-isolating) mean in practice?

Social distancing is for everyone. Social distancing is reducing contact with other people. See What can I do to lower my risk and help to protect others (social distancing)?

My child has Crohn’s or Colitis, what should I do?

Crohn’s & Colitis UK and CICRA have come together to recommend that you do not stop your child’s medicine due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Children on immunosuppressive medicines may be at an increased of complications if they are infected. Stopping immunosuppressive medicines is not recommended because this may cause a Crohn’s or Colitis flare, potentially requiring hospital treatment. Early evidence also suggests children are less susceptible to complications of coronavirus than adults, though for unknown reasons at present.

If you have concerns about your child’s treatment please discuss with their IBD team.

What to do if I have symptoms?

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious. For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. People who are self-isolating with mild symptoms will not be tested for coronavirus. Only those who are unwell in a hospital or care homes will be tested.

How long should I stay at home (self-isolate)?

  • If you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
  • If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
  • After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.
  • But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they’re at home for longer than 14 days.
  • If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
  • If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Read the NHS advice about staying at home.

What does staying at home (self-isolating) mean in practice?

If you have to stay at home, or self-isolate, you will need to get to the place you are going to stay, once there remain indoors and avoid contact with other people. This will prevent you from spreading the disease to your family, friends and the wider community.

In practical terms, this means that once you reach your residence you must:

  • Stay at home
  • Not going to work, school or public areas
  • Not use public transport like buses, trains, tubes or taxis
  • Avoid visitors to your home
  • Ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out errands for you – such as getting groceries, medications or other shopping

What do I do after 7 days?

After 7 days, if you no longer have a high temperature you can return to your normal routine.

If you still have a high temperature, stay at home until your temperature returns to normal.

If you still have a cough after 7 days, but your temperature is normal, you do not need to continue staying at home. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

When should I contact the NHS for advice?

Urgent advice: Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Use the 111 coronavirus service

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.​

I’ve got coronavirus symptoms, should I stop taking my medicine for Crohn’s or Colitis?

Get in touch with your IBD team if you develop any symptoms of coronavirus. If you’ve got an infection, you may have to stop taking your medicine until you are better – but this will depend on the medicine you are taking and your condition. Speak to your IBD team to get advice on whether or not you should continue taking your medicine.

Am I in the government’s ‘high risk’ or ‘vulnerable’ group?

Please read our latest advice about the risk categories.

This information is subject to change, so keep checking back for updates.

Am I at extra risk because I am taking an immunosuppressive/immunomodulating medicine?

Medicines that alter the immune system (immunosuppressive/immunomodulating medicines) for Crohn’s and Colitis include azathioprine, mercaptopurine, methotrexate, cyclosporin, infliximab, adalimumab, golimumab, ustekinumab, steroids (such as prednisolone and budesonide), vedolizumab and tofacitinib. See our information on treatments for more about these medicines and how they may affect you.

People taking immunosuppressive/immunomodulating medicines for Crohn’s or Colitis may be considered ‘high risk’ or ‘vulnerable.’ This means they may be at a higher risk of a more severe infection or complications from the virus if they are infected. Read our information here to see if your medicine puts you in the high-risk group. 

Should I stop taking my immunosuppressive/immunomodulating medicine?

  • Most people* should keep taking their immunosuppressive/immunomodulating medicine.
  • You can catch coronavirus from other people, so you should take extra precautions to avoid infection by social distancing and good personal hygiene, as discussed above What can I do to lower my risk and help to protect others (social distancing)?
  • If you stop taking your immunosuppressive medicine, you may have a flare that will increase your risk of complications if infected with the coronavirus. These medicines also take time (in some cases up to six months) to leave the body.
  • If you develop any coronavirus or flu symptoms, you should self-isolate and get in touch with your IBD team by phone before making any changes to your treatment.
  • *If you’re at an increased risk of infection, for example, you’ve been in direct contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19, have traveled to a high infectivity area in the last 14 days, or have another condition that increases your risk further, you should seek advice from your IBD team by phone before making any changes to your treatment.

Should I stop taking 5-ASAs?

You should continue taking your 5-ASA medicine unless you’ve been told to stop by your IBD team.

5-ASAs are used to treat Crohn’s and Colitis and include sulphasalazine, mesalazine, Pentasa, me Avant, olsalazine, and balsalazide.

5-ASAs are not in the same group of medicines as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen. There is no evidence that taking 5-ASAs increases your risk of catching or having complications from coronavirus. Mesalazine, Pentasa, me Avant, olsalazine, and balsalazide work specifically in the gut, and very little of these medicines are absorbed into the rest of the body.

You should always speak to your IBD team before making any changes to your treatment.

Will I get sick pay if I can’t work and have to stay at home?

If you can’t work because you need to stay at home (self-isolate) you should receive Statutory Sick Pay if you’re usually entitled to this. This will now be paid on day 1 of your being away from work instead of day 4.

This includes:

  • If anyone you live with has coronavirus symptoms and your household needs to self-isolate for 14 days
  • If you have coronavirus symptoms and need to self-isolate for 7 days

If you need to provide evidence (a sick note/isolation note) to your employer that you need to stay at home because of coronavirus, see I’m self-isolating – how do I get a sick note/isolation note?

If you have a zero-hours contract

You may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay so check with your employer. If not entitled you may be able to apply for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). See Can I claim any benefits?

If you’re self-employed

You can apply for Universal Credit.

If all the family needs to stay at home and there’s no income coming in?

If no one is getting Statutory Sick Pay, the family can apply for Universal Credit.

I’m self-isolating – how do I get a sick note/isolation note?

If your employer is asking you for evidence (a sick note, or in this case called an isolation note) that you’ve been advised to self-isolate because of coronavirus, you can now get this online. You no longer need to contact your doctor to get this.

  • For the first 7 days off work, you can self-certify and you don’t need to give your employer any evidence of why you’ve been off work due to sickness.
  • After the first 7 days of work, your employer may ask you for evidence. If you’re self-isolating because you have coronavirus symptoms, or live with someone who does, you can give your employer an isolation note.

You can get an isolation note from the online NHS 111 service: 111.nhs.uk/covid-19

You’ll need to answer the questions and the isolation note will be emailed to you. If you don’t have an email address, the note sent to a trusted family member or friend, or directly to your employer. The service can also be used to generate an isolation note on behalf of someone else.

Can I claim any benefits?

Universal Credit

If you’re affected by coronavirus you’ll be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a jobcentre.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If you’re required to stay at home because of coronavirus and want to apply for ESA, this will be payable from day 1. The usual 7 waiting days for new claimants will not apply.

People claiming either of these benefits will not have to produce a fit note or isolation note.

More information about benefits and support can be found here.

Our fundraising events

We are monitoring closely the developments relating to the spread of COVID-19. The situation is developing on a daily basis, and the Government’s most recent advice is now that mass gatherings should not go ahead. There are many events scheduled in the UK over the coming months which our supporters are due to take part in, and we are working as quickly as we can to determine how to move forward. 

As a charity, we are taking all necessary steps to ensure we are protecting the health and wellbeing of our supporters, members, volunteers, and staff. We will continue to follow the guidance provided by Public Health England, Sport England and other governmental sources relating to events, to ensure the safety of our supporters and the public.

Please bear with us as we gather more details. We will update our supporters via our website as well as email when more information is provided.

It’s been announced that several events will now be postponed in light of the Covid-19 outbreak, including:

London Landmarks Half Marathon

Brighton Marathon

London Marathon

Edinburgh Marathon Festival

We have been told that charities will receive further updates from the organizers over the next few days. We will be communicating with our runners and volunteers regularly to let them have updates once we know more, so please look out for emails from us.

We are disappointed for our runners who have put in so many dedicated hours and miles of training and have been enthusiastically fundraising for us over the past few months. We are so grateful to our running community for their commitment and amazing support. We very much look forward to fantastic events later this year and seeing all our supporters there.

Who should I contact if I am worried?

If you have specific treatment concerns or symptoms you are worried about, you should speak to your GP or get in touch with your IBD nurse or team.

If you’ve got questions about coronavirus, see NHS.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 or use the online NHS 111 service to check your symptoms 111.nhs.uk/covid-19

Call the NHS 111 service if you can’t access the service online, or if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or your symptoms get worse.

If you are worried about coronavirus and would like more information about things you can try to help your wellbeing during this difficult time, then MIND has lots of resources online.

Please do not go in-person to a hospital or your GP unless you have been advised to do so.

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Coronavirus: What Happens When You Get Infected?

There are many types of coronaviruses. Some give you the common cold. The new coronavirus behind the 2019-2020 pandemic causes an illness called COVID-19.

How Does Coronavirus Attack Your Body?

virus infects your body by entering healthy cells. There, the invader makes copies of itself and multiplies throughout your body.

The new coronavirus latches its spiky surface proteins to receptors on healthy cells, especially those in your lungs.

Specifically, the viral proteins bust into cells through ACE2 receptors. Once inside, the coronavirus hijacks healthy cells and takes command. Eventually, it kills some of the healthy cells.

How Does Coronavirus Move Through Your Body?

COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, starts with droplets from an infected person’s cough, sneeze, or breath. They could be in the air or on a surface that you touch before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. That gives the virus a passage to the mucous membranes in your throat. Within 2 to 14 days, your immune system may respond with symptoms including:CONTINUE READING BELOW

  • Fever
  • A cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Chills, sometimes with shaking
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • A sore throat
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

The virus moves down your respiratory tract. That’s the airway that includes your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs. Your lower airways have more ACE2 receptors than the rest of your respiratory tract. So COVID-19 is more likely to go deeper than viruses like the common cold.

Your lungs might become inflamed, making it tough for you to breathe. This can lead to pneumonia, an infection of the tiny air sacs (called alveoli) inside your lungs where your blood exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide.

If your doctor does a CT scan of your chest, they’ll probably see shadows or patchy areas called “ground-glass opacity.”

For most people, the symptoms end with a cough and a fever. More than 8 in 10 cases are mild. But for some, the infection gets more severe. About 5 to 8 days after symptoms begin, they have shortness of breath (known as dyspnea). Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) begins a few days later.

ARDS can cause rapid breathing, a fast heart rate, dizziness, and sweating. It damages the tissues and blood vessels in your alveoli, causing debris to collect inside them. This makes it harder or even impossible for you to breathe.

Many people who get ARDS need help breathing from a machine called a ventilator.

As fluid collects in your lungs, they carry less oxygen to your blood. That means your blood may not supply your organs with enough oxygen to survive. This can cause your kidneys, lungs, and liver to shut down and stop working.

Not everyone who has COVID-19 has these serious complications. And not everyone needs medical care. But if your symptoms include trouble breathing, get help right away.NEWSLETTERStay Up-to-Date on COVID-19

What Else Does COVID-19 Do to Your Body?

Some people also have symptoms including:

  • Pinkeye
  • Rashes
  • Liver problems or damage
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney damage
  • Dangerous blood clots, including in their legs, lungs, and arteries. Some clots may cause a stroke.

Researchers are also looking into a few reports of skin rashes, including some reddish-purple spots on fingers or toes.

A few children and teens have been admitted to the hospital with an inflammatory syndrome that may be linked to the new coronavirus. Symptoms include a fever, rash, belly pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart problems. The syndrome, now being referred to as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C is similar to toxic shock or to Kawasaki disease, a condition in children that causes inflammation in blood vessels. We’re still learning about these cases.

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Suvex Soothe® Intensive Cream – 100ml

Suvex Soothe is clinically proven kind to skin and naturally steroid free. It is a revolutionary new natural source emoilliient cream suitable for dry, itchy and eczema prone skin. Its replenishing properties help to relieve dry, red and itchy skin  Suvex has been developed to both hydrate and soothe whilst helping to protect the skin from further irritation. From the rainforests of Brazil to the high mountains of Chile, from the plains of Africa to the sun kissed soil of the Mediterranean, our experts have chosen the finest ingredients that care for you, your skin and your environment, whilst delivering fast, visible results. Suvex enhances skin renewal and increases skin firmness.

> Soothing –  Natural plant compounds actively calm redness and itchiness associated with dry skin

> Moisturising – A unique combination of naturally occurring essential fatty acids, polyphenols and polysaccharides combine to retain water within the skin

> Protecting- Gentle plant dervived compounds form a natural protective coating on the skin to defend against everyday irritants.

Suvex Soothe is dermatalogically tested and helps soothe sensitive, dry, itchy and eczema prone skin. We have not added any perfume or perfume oils which can irritate eczema. Suvex Soothe has not been naturalised like many other creams,  so it smells completely natural, like natural creams should.

Naturally soothing:

Ethically sourced Shea butter, Cupuacu butter, Rose hip oil, Rice bran oil and Aloe Vera are all combined with a proprietary blend of plant oils and a unique seaweed extract to create a cooling, replenishing, luxuriously textured cream that helps soothe dry, red and itchy skin.

100% Plant Sourced Ingredients include:

> Shea butter: A wonderfully nourishing extract used extensively around the globe

> Capuacu butter:  A creamy emollient from the seeds of this native Brazilian tree

> Rose hip oil:  Rich in essential fatty acids that help form a protective barrier in your skin to lock in moisture

> Rice bran oil:  Naturally rich in Vitamin E, Rice Bran Oil enhances skin quality

> Aloe Vera:  Renowned for its soothing properties, Aloe Vera is rich in many vitamins and amino acids

> Brown Kelp: Nourishing and moisturising, Brown Kelp helps maintain pH balance in the skin

> Olive extract:  Softens and conditions the skin

> Homeo-Soothe™:  Reduces inflammatory responses and protects the skin against environmental irritants.  

Recommended use:

For best results simply apply a small amount of Suvex Soothe on the target area 2 to 3 times daily. Do not apply to bleeding or broken skin. Always ensure your hands are clean before applying the cream.

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Coronavirus: Adults should take vitamin D, researchers say

The Government should immediately change recommendations for vitamin D supplements as a matter of urgency by urging all adults to take them during the coronavirus pandemic, according to scientists at Trinity College Dublin.

This follows evidence highlighting the association between vitamin D levels and mortality from Covid-19 produced by Dr Eamon Laird and Prof Rose Anne Kenny, who lead the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.

They analysed European adult population studies completed since 1999 which measured vitamin D, and compared vitamin D and death rates from Covid-19.

The pivotal role of vitamin D in fighting viral infections is known but it can also “support the immune system through a number of immune pathways” involved in fighting Covid-19, they conclude in a study published in the Irish Medical Journal.

The correlation is so strong taking vitamin D should be advised immediately, Prof Kenny said. This was because vitamin D deficiency was common among those at risk of Covid-19 (particularly older people); there was no toxic risk from taking it at the recommended dosage level, and growing evidence of benefits.

Last week, scientists at Northwestern University in the US found those with severe vitamin D deficiency were twice as likely to experience Covid-19 complications.

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