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Coronavirus & Mesothelioma: What Patients Should Know

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on May 18, 2020

Mesothelioma patients have higher health risks than the average person when it comes to the coronavirus, or COVID-19. They are extremely immunocompromised due to their medical conditions and related treatments, such as chemotherapy. This makes mesothelioma patients highly vulnerable to the disease. As a patient with mesothelioma, learn your risks and how to protect yourself from the novel coronavirus, according to health officials.

Mesothelioma Patients Are at High Risk

The coronavirus affects the same part of the body as the most common form of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma: the lungs. As someone with mesothelioma, you already have compromised respiratory and immune systems. Adding the symptoms of COVID-19 could mean severe illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that adults with severe underlying medical conditions, including lung diseases, are at a higher risk of serious complications connected to the coronavirus. Pay attention to potential signs of the virus. Early medical intervention is critical.

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty rousing
  • Body aches
  • Blue coloration of the lips or face

Coronavirus has many of the same symptoms as mesothelioma. It can be difficult, therefore, to tell whether you have COVID-19 or are simply experiencing symptoms related to your existing medical condition. If you notice anything new, or you have a high temperature when you did not before, contact your doctor immediately. Your physician can recommend additional tests or medical care for you as someone highly vulnerable to the virus. Prompt action could get you the treatment you need to prevent some of the most serious complications related to COVID-19.

Isolation Is Your Greatest Protection

No known cure for the coronavirus exists. There is no vaccine available. Instead, health care professionals are recommending self-isolation and social distancing. As someone highly vulnerable to the coronavirus, isolate yourself at home with only your other household members for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation can be the best way to avoid exposure to the virus as someone with mesothelioma. If you do allow anyone into your home, check that person for a high temperature and possible symptoms of the virus before allowing entrance.

Avoid large crowds and public transportation. While in self-isolation, keep up with physical exercise and any treatments for mesothelioma you can do at home. Using soap and warm water, rub your hands together to wash them for at least 20 seconds. Disinfect the surfaces of your home that are commonly touched at least once per day. Avoid touching your face or mouth, especially if you are in a place where you cannot wash your hands often. If you have to leave home, stay at least six feet away from other people and wear an approved mask to help avoid contracting and/or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Help Is Available at Home

You may not have to leave your home to speak to a physician about mesothelioma. Many doctor’s offices offer virtual appointments for patients who are self-quarantined. You can use a virtual appointment to check in with your doctor as you normally would, in lieu of an in-office visit. If a virtual appointment is not possible, skip non-urgent doctor’s office visits until the government announces the end of the risk period for COVID-19. In the meantime, request your pharmacy to send your prescriptions directly to your residence.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus might mean delays in your mesothelioma treatments, such as radiation therapy. Pulmonary units and medical teams at many hospitals are dedicating their personnel and resources entirely to the care of COVID-19 positive patients. Speak to your doctor about how the virus might impact your treatment plan. If you notice symptoms of an illness, call your primary care physician immediately for guidance. Your doctor can help you understand what to do if you get sick.

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