PBC and Covid-19
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The PBC Foundation is the only UK based organisation that specifically deals with PBC.

PBC and Covid-19

PBC and Covid-19

From the PBC Foundation Medical Advisory Board, 4th March 2020.

Readers should be aware that understanding is continuing to evolve so they should look at websites listed below.

Over the last few days, our helpline has received many calls from people with PBC worried about Coronavirus.

Get information from reliable sources

There are many sources of reports, wireless, television, social media, press and so on. Some of the information is inaccurate, some is alarmist and sensational and some is just wrong. There are several reliable sources of information and these include:

 NHS: (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/)

 Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England:          

(https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public)

 Health Protection Scotland:

(https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/wuhan-novel-coronavirus/)

 Welsh Government: (https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19)

 Northern Ireland: (https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus)

Remember the situation is changing, so keep up to date, using the sensible websites.

COVID-19 and PBC

The spectrum of illness associated with Covid-19 varies from an asymptomatic infection to severe illness. Some people with PBC may be at greater risk of getting more severe infection – mainly those who are taking immunosuppressive medications (such as prednisolone, azathioprine, mycophenolate, ciclosporin or tacrolimus), or have advanced PBC. However, everyone should take the sensible precautions listed below.

Hospital visits: the NHS is under pressure and Covid-19 may cause extra pressure.  At this stage, hospitals are continuing with ‘business as usual’. If the situation becomes worse, however, hospitals might recommend that routine check-ups be postponed for those who are well and stable. This is an evolving situation, so before your appointment, it is worth checking the latest advice from the NHS (see https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/) or your own hospital. As always, use your common sense – if you are uncertain what to do, check with your doctor.

If you become unwell

Symptoms of COVID-19 are not specific but include cough, fever and shortness of breath. If you get any of these symptoms, you may have the virus but there are many other causes for one or more of these symptoms. Nonetheless you should call 111 (patients in Scotland are advised to ring their GP surgery if open and 111 if closed); do not go to the surgery or hospital unless specifically advised.

Use sensible precautions

What you can do to reduce the risk of infection:

Good hand hygiene: wash your hands with soap and water before eating and after contact with other people. Hands should be washed properly, and this takes at least 30 seconds. Hand sanitisers are helpful if access to soap and water is limited but is not a substitute for hand washing

                Face-masks: even if you can get hold of them, they are of very limited benefit.

                Avoid close contact with people, especially those who are ill

                If you sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with your sleeve or tissue and put the tissue in a bin straight                  away

                Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes