Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

What You Need to Know About Coronavirus

Last updated – August 31

The situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing rapidly across Canada. The MS Society of Canada is closely monitoring information on COVID-19 as released by the Public Health Agency of Canada and other public health authorities. The health of the MS community is our priority as we manage through concerns related to COVID-19.

What is the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Currently, it’s unclear how easily the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Most people who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms, but some people will have more severe symptoms. Symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing (shortness of breath)

How can I help protect myself?

There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact (at least 6 feet away) with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What does COVID-19 mean for people living with MS?

Many disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for MS work by modifying or suppressing the immune system. People with MS who are treated with these therapies can face an increased risk of infections. If you are taking a DMT and have concerns about your risk for COVID-19, do not stop your DMT without first speaking with your MS and primary care provider.

If you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or believe you have otherwise been exposed to COVID-19 or are confirmed to have this infection, stay home and contact your MS and primary care provider for advice right away.

Call your MS and primary care provider if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

For more information please visit the Disease-Modifying Treatment (DMT) Guidelines for Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Additional Information

How to wear a medical mask safely (World Health Organization)

How to navigate a virtual care visit: patient guide from the Canadian Medical Association

COVID-19 Q&A for people living with MS - Canadian Network of MS Clinics

MSIF Global COVID-19 advice for people with MS

Public Health Agency of Canada

World Health Organization

Adapted from the National MS Society

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