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What You Need to Know about Coronavirus

February 27, 2020

UPDATED March 3, 2020

What is the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. At this time, it’s unclear how easily the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people.
 
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Most people who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms, but some people will have more severe symptoms. Symptoms can include:
• fever
• cough
• difficulty breathing (shortness of breath)
 
How can I help protect myself and others?
There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
These include
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
• Avoid close contact (at least 3 feet away) with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Stay home and contact your primary care provider if you develop symptoms, have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
 
What does COVID-19 mean for people living with MS?
Many disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for MS work by modifying or suppressing the immune system. People with MS who are treated with these therapies can face an increased risk of infections. 
-If you are taking a DMT and have concerns about your risk for COVID-19, do not stop your DMT without first speaking with your MS provider. 
-If you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVOD-19 or believe you have otherwise been exposed to COVID-19 or are confirmed to have this infection, stay home and contact your MS and primary care providers for advice right away. 
-Call your MS and Primary Care provider if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

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About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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