It looks like you are using an older version of Internet Explorer which is not supported. We advise that you update your browser to the latest version of Microsoft Edge, or consider using other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

MS and COVID-19

As everyone around the world is adapting to the new ‘normal’ and we navigate the realities brought to us by COVID-19, it’s important to remember that self-isolating does not mean that you are alone! Far from it in fact. Whilst we are living through unprecedented and incredibly challenging times, especially so for all members of the MS community, we can all unite by taking control and supporting each other. Community and coming together are a remarkably positive way of combatting that very real and natural sense of anxiety and stress COVID-19 can bring.

During this time, it’s very important to stay home and stay on-top of both your physical and mental health1, 2, 3. While of course those living with MS are pros at maintaining a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle, we thought in addition to staying at home, it might help to give you some extra tips that are sensible and easy to manage as part of a routine lifestyle.

Physical health tips:

Here are some ways you can help yourself and those around you stay as healthy as possible4:

  • Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Or if you are not near a sink, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throw the tissue away
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched frequently
  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and stay at home
  • It is equally important for family members and carers to carry out the same level of hygiene and care for themselves.

If you experience any symptoms related to COVID-19, stay home and immediately call your doctor to discuss next steps.

Mental health tips:

With everything going on in the world around COVID-19, it is natural that you might feel a strain mentally. It is okay to feel down and uncertain about how things are unfolding at the moment but try not to put pressure on yourself to feel bright and cheery when you don’t feel that way. Try these tips below on how to keep a positive mental outlook5:

  • Self-isolation is a chance to get in touch with others in different ways than usual; perhaps over social media, FaceTime, e-mail or on the phone. These are good ways to keep close to the people who matter to you6
  • Experiment with new and nutritious meals. It's a great way to keep your body and mind nourished and your hands active
  • Try connecting with other people living with MS and share your tips and experiences through the various online MS communities.
  • If you want to do research around COVID-19, look at trusted sources of information from professional and patient focused groups. Visit our resources page for more information.
  • Stay as active as possible. Lighter forms of exercise such as meditation or yoga are easy to do at home and are a great way to keep your mind and body active. Maybe try an online exercise video tailored specifically for people living with MS
  • Create a self-isolation resolution. This can be anything from learning a new language, completing a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, teaching yourself an instrument or gaining an online qualification. Turn this time into something positive and productive!

It’s essential that you stay on-top of both your physical and mental health so try these tips above and stay home and stay safe.

For more information, please visit dedicated pages on COVID-19 from the MS Trust and MS Society.
 

References: 

  1. MS Trust. Coronavirus, Covid-19 and multiple sclerosis. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/coronavirus-covid-19-and-multiple-sclerosis. Accessed June 2020
  2. MS Society. My 9 tips for wellbeing during the pandemic. Available at: https://www.mssociety.org.uk/care-and-support/online-community/community-blog/my-9-tips-for-wellbeing-during-the-pandemic. Accessed June 2020
  3. MS Trust. COVID-19 and your mental and physical wellbeing. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/coronavirus-covid-19-and-multiple-sclerosis#covid-19-and-your-mental-and-physical-wellbeing. Accessed June 2020.
  4. MS Society. MS and coronavirus care and support. Available at: https://www.mssociety.org.uk/care-and-support/ms-and-coronavirus-care-and-support#social-distancing. Accessed June 2020
  5. Mind. Coronavirus and your wellbeing. Available at:  https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/#TakeCareOfYourMentalHealthAndWellbeing. Accessed: March 2020
  6. Mental Health Foundation (March 2020), Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak. Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak. Accessed: March 2020