Tufts Medical Center is closely monitoring and preparing for the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have cancer, you know that you are among the more vulnerable population who is more susceptible to contracting and experiencing more serious symptoms of the virus. You are the most important member of your health care team. Learn more about how Tufts MC is addressing this situation.
Read the following information to learn how you can protect yourself during this time:
How do I prevent getting COVID-19?
There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments available to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infections is to avoid exposure. To that end, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth especially when out in public.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
What are symptoms of COVID-19?
- Cough and shortness of breath and
- In severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs)
- Loss of smell or taste
Note that influenza (the flu) has similar symptoms and is common at this time of year. If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact your doctor.
What else do cancer patients need to know about the coronavirus?
The COVID-19 outbreak is still new, so doctors do not have a lot of specific information on this coronavirus for cancer patients. But they do have a lot of information regarding the risk of infections in general for cancer patients.
According to the American Cancer Society, doctors and health officials agree the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. This is especially important for patients with cancer, because they are at higher risk for serious illness if they get infected, particularly patients who are in active chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant patients. That’s because their immune systems can be severely weakened by the treatment.
Preparations for cancer patients at Tufts Medical Center
Please know that active measures are being taken to ensure we are as prepared as possible to care for patients affected by COVID-19, as well as, provide ongoing care for patients and families such as yours. For example, phone screenings prior to your visit and clinic screening points have been set up to identify patients and visitors with symptoms. We are also monitoring our own staff to make sure they are healthy while caring for patients. Changes to appointments may also occur in order to minimize the exposure of patients to others.
Resources from the American Cancer Society: