Patient Stories: Taking Immunosuppressants During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Every day the numbers grow larger — more people are diagnosed with COVID-19, more people are hospitalized, and more of us are at risk of infection ourselves. The public, by now, knows that the elderly and those with serious health issues such as cancer, diabetes, lung disease and heart disease are high risk, but people taking immunosuppressant drugs fall into the high-risk category as well.

Patient Stories: Taking Immunosuppressants During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Kim O’Donnell

Kim O’Donnell, 58, of Staffordshire, England suffers from Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder which causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness all over her body. Swallowing, gluten intolerance and dry eyes are other debilitating symptoms O’Donnell experiences. She takes sulfasalazine every day, which compromises her immune system and puts her at risk of catching bacterial and viral illnesses.

Lee Chambers

Lee Chambers, a 34-year-old environmental psychologist and wellbeing trainer from Preston, England, takes the immunosuppressant drug methotrexate for his rheumatoid arthritis. Chambers undergoes regular blood tests to assess his white blood cell count. If the white blood cells are too low, he has to come off of the medication in order to recover.

Hayley Cranberry Small

Urban planner and ceramicist, Hayley Cranberry Small, 28, is the founder of Lutte Collective in Brooklyn, New York. She also recently launched “The IV Shirt” with Rebirth Garments, a shirt that can be taken on and off while hooked to an IV in your arm. Since the age of 16, Small has been taking immunosuppressant drugs for ulcerative colitis. Five years ago she began to take Remicade which she receives every eight weeks.

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