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Top 10 COVID-19 tips for everyone with IBD.

Crohn's & Colitis New Zealand Charitable Trust —

(Recommendations from the New Zealand Society of Gastroenterology)

1. We will do everything we can to keep you safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic

*Note that hospitals are undergoing massive reorganisation to prepare to care for those with serious infection

2. Don’t stop your medication; preventing disease flares is a priority

*We want to keep you out of hospital if possible, but if you are unwell, we will be there for you

3. Ensure your prescriptions are up to date. There is no need to stockpile medication as the Ministry of Health and Pharmac assure us there is a good supply of medication available and that distribution is reliable*Do not take steroids (prednisone) from your GP without discussing with your local IBD team

4. Contact your local IBD team via the phone or email helpline if you are experiencing a flare

5. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face; this goes for everyone

6. Work from home, avoid travel & contact with anyone outside your household or “bubble”

7. Quit smoking as this increases the risk and severity of COVID19 infection & avoid NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen)

8. Government guidelines on self-isolation and social distancing are changing rapidly so please visit the government website COVID-19.govt.nz to keep up to date. (If you are unclear on your level of risk, contact your local IBD helpline for further advice)

9. If you develop a cough, fever or flu-like symptoms you should follow the government’s recommendations about self-isolation and household quarantine. If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the google healthline or https://covid19.govt.nz/. For a medical emergency dial 111.

10. Take care of yourself but also be kind and considerate to others in these difficult times

Patients are being asked to keep taking their usual IBD therapy. If patients stop taking their medications without discussing it with their clinical team first, there is a risk of disease flare. Active disease is associated with an increased risk of infection, exposure to steroids (increased risk from infection), hospitalisation and major surgery 4,6.