Coronavirus outbreak in the UK

Written by Aaron Dennis, March 12, 2020

Many of you are understandably concerned about the spread of coronavirus.

There is no evidence that people with a bleeding disorder are any more likely to catch the virus than the general population but it is important to continue to follow the latest advice on minimising the chances of catching or passing it on.

The situation is constantly changing. The best way of keeping up to date with the latest advice is through the Government’s website.

We suggest that you phone your haemophilia centre for advice before attending hospital for the treatment of bleeds. It is also sensible to check that you still need to attend routine appointments, as these may be delayed or done via the telephone, depending on the impact of coronavirus on individual hospitals.

What if I’m HIV positive?

The Terrence Higgins Trust advises that there is no evidence that people living with HIV are at greater risk of catching the virus if they are on treatment with an undetectable viral load and a good CD4 count (ie over 400).

For those living with HIV who do not have an undetectable viral load or a low CD4 count, the THT says it is “more important to avoid situations where you may get infected if the virus becomes more widespread”.

What if I have hepatitis or liver damage?

The British Liver Trust advises that some liver patients, such as people with cirrhosis and transplant patients, are generally at higher risk of infection from viruses such as cold or flu. It suggests following the government’s advice to reduce the risk of catching or spreading germs and to call your doctor if you’re feeling unwell.  

The Hepatitis C Trust has reassured people with hepatitis C that there is “no specific guidance or additional steps that need to be taken” aside from the guidance that has been provided already to the general public.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as a cold and flu.

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

What to do if you think you might have coronavirus

If you think you might have coronavirus or you’ve been in close contact with someone who has it:

  • stay at home and avoid close contact with other people
  • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next

The 111 coronavirus service will tell you if you need to continue to stay at home (self-isolate) or if you need medical help.