We’ve been asked by some of our members to offer some clarification around COVID-19 and the specific risks it poses to those with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.
Michael A. Williams, Chair of the Hydrocephalus Association Medical Advisory Board (United States) reviewed published medical research and found that Hydrocephalus by itself has not been identified as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease.
The risk factors for severe COVID-19 in children are uncertain at this time.
Persons with normal pressure hydrocephalus should however consider themselves at risk if they:
- are over age 60 years,
- have heart disease
- have lung disease
- have diabetes
- have hypertension
Persons with hydrocephalus of any age can try to estimate their risk for severe COVID-19 disease by assessing whether they have other chronic health conditions, as well as the nature of their health conditions
If you are in unsure about your risk category, they recommend that you follow CDC guidance to stay at home as much as possible, to avoid crowds, to practice social distancing, to wash your hands often, and to avoid non-essential travel.
The Spina Bifida Association (United States) advise the following in relation to the condition and COVID-19.
- COVID-19 is spread via aerosol, which means particles can be inhaled from the air when a person coughs or sneezes. It is also shed in other body fluids, such as urine and stool, as well as nasal secretions and saliva. Therefore, it can be spread through poor sanitation before and after catheterization or toileting procedures, by poor secretion control, or by touching kitchen or bathroom surfaces.
- To date, there have been no deaths reported worldwide in children under 10 years of age. This may suggest that infected children are less likely to get severe or life-threatening disease. However, parents and caregivers should ensure that they and their children follow the best recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- In general, individuals with Spina Bifida are NOT at increased risk of being infected by COVID-19 or increased risk of severe illness. However, people with Spina Bifida or a loved one may fall into a high-risk category. These would include:
- Adults over the age of 60
- People with heart disease
- People with chronic respiratory issues
- People with diabetes
- People with medical conditions or taking medications which may make them immune-suppressed.
- There is no medication to treat or prevent COVID-19 infection at present, though medications to
treat symptoms of fever, cough or congestion may be recommended.
- Remember that stigma will not help fight illness. The risk of COVID-19 is not connected with income level, race, ethnicity, or nationality.
For more from the Spina Bifida Association click HERE.
Do not let fear of COVID-19 keep you from seeking necessary care for your hydrocephalus. If you are experiencing symptoms concerning shunt malfunction or another issue that could be harmful to you seek medical advice by contacting your GP, out of hour GP service or dial 999.