Non Classée, Parkinson

FAQ Covid-19 & Parkinson

20 March 2020

You are certainly well informed by the traditional media, government and public health authorities about the progress of COVID-19. However, we would like to provide you with specific advice and information about the impact this virus could have on your health as a person living with Parkinson’s disease.

The questions presented below are the result of our recent exchanges with the Parkinson’s community across Quebec as well as other associations abroad. We invite you to read them and discuss them with your healthcare professional.

Exercise is a key element in the control of Parkinson’s disease. In accordance with the recommendations of the Government of Quebec, we invite you not to frequent public places. However, you can maintain your level of physical activity at home by using online resources (e.g., webinar presenting an exercise program) or by following the recommendations of your health professional. We know that physical activity is usually a good time for you to socialize with your community. Find participants’ contact information and share your tips by phone or online on social media!

Here is an online resource: click here

Follow our Facebook page Parkinson Québec, we offer daily ideas to break isolation and stay active!

The incisions that allowed the electrical stimulation system to be implanted in your husband’s brain are certainly healed and are not entry points for infections. In fact, the coronavirus is transmitted mainly through the droplets of saliva that we involuntarily send into the atmosphere. The virus enters its new hosts through the mouth, nose and eyes. However, your husband may be at greater risk because of his age and physical condition.

The virus has no specific criteria for its hosts. It affects even the biggest ones in this world! The risk of being infected does not depend on a person’s condition, but on the frequency of interpersonal relationships. We therefore recommend that you limit your movements to the essentials and see a very limited number of people. This is what will make it possible to restrict the spread of the virus on a large scale. However, social relationships are a fundamental element of human health. We therefore recommend that your spouse spend more time on the phone with her friend.

At present, there is very little data on the impact of this virus, particularly in people living with Parkinson’s disease. However, we do know that respiratory infections caused by viruses can make people living with the disease feel slower and stiffer and feel that their medications are not working as well as they used to. Because coronavirus is a respiratory virus, it is to be expected that in addition to respiratory symptoms, people with coronavirus can also experience this impact on their Parkinson’s disease. They are also likely to have a longer recovery period, if infected.

Every day we learn new information about the target population of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the clinical manifestations it causes. However, as with all viral respiratory infections, there are populations that appear to be particularly at risk. These include those with asthma, heart disease, other respiratory diseases, but also all people with weaker immune systems, especially the elderly. It is in the latter class that the vast majority of people with Parkinson’s disease are found. However, Parkinson’s disease is so individually expressed that the impact of the virus on two people can vary completely.

Because of their age and the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, it is best to consider people with Parkinson’s disease as being more at risk and, therefore, to try to protect them even more.

Maintaining interpersonal relationships is very important in the management of Parkinson’s disease. Did you know that people who are isolated have the fastest growing disease? That’s why we encourage you to maintain your social and family activities. However, use the telephone and new means of communication to maintain your relationships. Family members, especially younger ones, are most likely to be in contact with an infected person. On the other hand, their immune system (which protects them) is certainly stronger than yours. This could explain why they may be infected but not show symptoms. In fact, it has been noted that children have fewer clinical manifestations than adults. As a last resort, if you have to maintain a social or family activity, try to keep your distance from people (1 to 2 metres).

Physical activity can reduce the perception of symptoms and to some extent slow the progression of the disease. However, the rate of progression of Parkinson’s disease is very slow. It is therefore unlikely that your decrease in physical activity during this period, which we all hope will be short, will have a profound impact on the progression of the disease. On the other hand, you may experience more symptoms such as stiffness and trembling. We therefore invite you to maintain an activity at home!

This pandemic is quite exceptional and many people like you are wondering about its global impact and longevity. So you are no exception. In addition, anxiety is a classic symptom of Parkinson’s disease in any situation. So your anxiety is normal. We recommend that you talk to your healthcare professional.

There is little data on this point. However, based on our knowledge of other viral respiratory infections, it can be assumed that elderly people with parkinsonian symptoms such as problems with balance, falls, difficulty swallowing or weight loss are at the highest risk of contracting infections, including COVID-19.

Ideally, everyone should engage in social distancing over the next few weeks to protect themselves and others. People over the age of 70 and people with Parkinson’s disease should be more diligent in observing social distancing, as they are at greater risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19.

Social distancing does not mean complete isolation, but rather implies:

  • Working from home when possible…
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Avoid gatherings of people
  • Avoid unnecessary travel
  • Avoiding unnecessary travel on public transport
  • Avoid areas such as bars, restaurants, gyms, etc.
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family
  • Using the telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

We recommend that you take care of your mental health during this tumultuous period. We understand that engaging in social distancing can be isolating and particularly difficult for those who may already be experiencing anxiety and/or depression. It is important to stay connected by using other methods such as social media, telephone, or online communities.

If you feel the need to talk about it, we are available at
➡️ 1 800 720.1307 Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19. This virus is completely new. No infection lab has ever studied it before. Therefore, there is no vaccine to protect against it or to treat it at this time. On the other hand, vaccination against the flu increases the chances of not getting this respiratory infection and therefore, of not favouring complications related to COVID-19 if you ever become infected.

Every year, Quebec’s public health invites everyone over 65, as well as those with respiratory and cardiac problems, to get vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcus. These populations are at greater risk of developing complications if they are infected. These vaccinations do not protect against coronavirus. However, unless otherwise advised by one of your health care professionals, we recommend that, as a precautionary measure, you do not attend CLSC and other organizations in the health care system.

For questions about our services or events, our info service line is at your disposal.

➡️ Service Info Line 1 800 720.1307 (confidential, bilingual, free)

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