This post is about practical advice for thyroid patients during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
This is a desperately worrying time right now for all of us.
Thyroid patients have particular issues. Their thyroid medication or dosing may not be ideal. Many may have other medical complications. Therefore, thyroid patients are more likely to be vulnerable than a person with no health issues.
So, the top priority is to stay safe and avoid contracting the Coronavirus at its peak, when health systems are less able to cope.
In many countries, people have received their government’s advice to remain indoors, in self-isolation (social-distancing). Therefore, it is vitally important for thyroid patients to act on this and to take sensible precautions. This is good advice even if you live in a part of the world that has not implemented a lockdown yet.
In this article, I wanted to try to make some practical suggestions. You may already have considered these but I felt it was worthwhile sharing them in case some of the ideas might be helpful.
There are several major areas that I think are worthwhile considering.
Make sure that you have enough thyroid medication
Call your doctor’s office or contact your pharmacist or medication supplier and ensure you have enough medication that you are not at risk of running out. I do not think any patient on prescription medication will get more than one to three months of medication prescribed. It is just important to not forget to do this.
You cannot afford to run low at this time. Thyroid medication is important to your health and staying healthy is critical if you are to fight any infection of any kind.
Get your thyroid medication and any other medication delivered to your doorstep.
Entering a pharmacy right now is just too risky. Ensure you use any local authority, or pharmacy capability to have ALL of your medications delivered to your doorstep, and have no contact with the person delivering it.
Remove and destroy/bin any external packaging that the medication arrives in and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
Document your thyroid medication and other medication.
It is very important to document exactly what medication you take each day.
This includes the type of thyroid medication, the brand(s) and the sizes and timing of each dose.
This applies to other medications as well if you take any of these.
Make sure your close family members have access to all of this information.
Personally, I have done this for myself and it is pinned up on a noticeboard in my kitchen.
If my wife succumbed to the virus and was ill, I would send this in an email to my family members and have a hard copy kept with me.
Writing a short summary of your medical history might also be useful.
Both the actual medication being taken and the medical history could be important to have available should you be taken ill and not be able to communicate this well to a medical professional or family member.
Immune system boosting
There are several good supplements that can help to boost our immune system:
- Vitamin C (Liposomal Form if possible, as this bypasses any digestive issues regarding absorption).
- A Multi-Vitamin (a good all-rounder).
- Vitamin D (if your levels are low and you are confined to the house).
- Probiotics (a good brand if possible).
- Colostrum capsules (a great option).
Thyroid medication & dosing
Try to ensure, as best as you can, that your thyroid medication is optimised. I know this is very hard to achieve if it is far from optimal right now.
Monitor your symptoms and signs (like body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure). Consider small changes to your medication to improve them.
Ensuring thyroid hormone is working well in the cells will help your overall health and immune system.
Use phone, or video conferencing based appointments.
Even if you still have the opportunity to have actual medical appointments face to face, I would try to do ALL of these via phone or other media.
Zoom or Skype are both excellent and free if your doctor is willing to use one of these.
It is essential to limit or avoid contact with other people right now. This includes medical professionals.
Ensure medical records are up to date.
Ensure any recent test results or medication changes are definitely recorded in your medical records.
You can phone your doctor’s office or clinic and double-check this.
This is especially relevant if you have modified your thyroid medication dosage at all.
If you have to be treated by a different doctor
Medical services are over-loaded and for a variety of reasons, you may not be able to talk to your usual doctor.
Try to make sure your medical records are up to date (see above). This would be needed so that any new doctor can use it.
Document the most relevant lab test history that you have.
You should have your thyroid medication and other medication documented and given to a family member (see above).
Gather the scientific and clinical evidence to defend your current therapy if it is not a standard treatment.
Look into other options for health care that may be available to you, including Functional Medicine Doctors or Pharmacists who may now be able to prescribe thyroid medication.
If you need to have laboratory tests via blood tests or saliva tests, do consider whether these are essential or not. Delay any non-essential lab testing.
If some lab testing is important to do please try and use home-based lab testing where possible. Many blood tests and saliva testing companies do this via mail order these days. Clearly take precautions in handling any lab test kit that is delivered to you.
Look after your mental and physical health
Try to keep fit, even if you are housebound. There is a great deal of advice on how to do this on the Internet and TV.
Look after your mental health. Try to do some things that make you feel good. There is lots of advice on this too.
Stay in contact with family members and friends via phone and video conferencing. I have recently been using Zoom and found that works extremely well even when the participants are several and in different parts of the country or world.
I will update this post as I receive any other useful suggestions from thyroid patients.
Please do try to stay healthy and take every reasonable precaution in order to stay safe!