Coronavirus and arthritis - FAQs

 

  1. Advice for children
  2. Drugs and medications
  3. Events and research
  4. Useful contacts and sources of support
  5. Financial support

For anyone who has been trying to follow the latest updates on COVID-19 will know the situation is changing rapidly.

The latest information can be found on gov.uk and NHS websites.

Here’s our latest list of frequently asked questions about coronavirus and arthritis.

I'm worried about my child who has an autoimmune condition. What's the advice for children?

The advice for children is the same as adults. The good news is that it doesn’t seem to affect children as severely. However, it's still important for children to wash their hands as they may be able to pass the virus on to adults.

See the latest advice for parents from The Scottish Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology Network (SPARN).

Drugs and medication

I take methotrexate/DMARDS/other drugs that suppress my immune system. Should I stop taking it?

The current advice is that you should not stop taking your medications unless advised to do so by your rheumatologist or rheumatology nurse.

By stopping your medication, you're more likely to have a ‘flare’, which could make you more likely to pick up an infection.

If you have concerns about your medication, speak to a member of your healthcare team.

COVID-19 advice for people taking steroids

Read the latest guidance about steroids and COVID-19.

Flu and pneumonia vaccinations

If you've not had your annual flu vaccine, we would recommend you do so as soon as possible. This can be arranged through your GP or pharmacist.

Speak to your healthcare team to find out if you need the pneumonia vaccine.

Should I take Ibuprofen?

There has been some confusion as to whether or not it is safe to take ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). The advice from the NHS is:

“There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.

But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

If you are already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking it without checking first.” Read more on the NHS website.

Events and research

Where can I find out the latest about Versus Arthritis events?

Check our Events page and the In Your Area section for the latest information on sporting events and local activities. Read our update on face to services.

What's the impact on Versus Arthritis research?

We know that the coronavirus will have a serious impact on people with arthritis, our research and our researchers. We are committed to working with our communities to find the best possible solutions for us all. Read this message from Stephen Simpson, Director of Research to find out more.

Useful contacts and sources of support

If you’re feeling anxious or worried

If you're feeling worried about COVID-19, The Mental Health Foundation has produced tips to help people cope with anxiety. Ideas include:

  • looking after yourself, so you feel more able to cope with whatever happens
  • try to manage how much you follow on the media. There's a lot of misinformation being spread. Make sure you are only looking at reliable sources of information, like the NHS and gov.uk
  • talking to friends and family about your worries.

Where can I go for more information?

  • NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. This is available in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Although the NHS 111 service is very busy. For the moment, the NHS is asking that you only use it if you are struggling to manage the symptoms at home, following the latest advice.

Financial support

What is happening about benefit reviews and reassessments?

The Government has announced that because of the coronavirus crisis, there will be no new reviews or reassessments across all benefits for three months.

This includes Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

  • Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been suspended for the next 3 months including for any new claims.
  • If an assessment for PIP has already taken place this will continue to be processed. If an assessment has been scheduled, claimants will be contacted by the assessment provider to discuss how this will be taken forward.
  • ESA and UC claimants whose cases have been referred to the provider will be contacted to take this forward.

For more information please visit the gov.uk website.

My mobility lease is due to expire soon, what should I do?

If your mobility lease is due to expire, you will be issued with a six-month extension. Find out more information about mobility schemes and the coronovirus.