With the world in lockdown, many are asking how the coronavirus will affect sufferers and survivors of Mesothelioma

Throughout the world people are experiencing new fears, anxieties and challenges. It appears no walks of life are exempt from contracting COVID-19, with the likes of famous celebrities such as Tom Hanks and Idris Elba, and the infamous Harvey Weinstein and Placido Domingo all contracting the virus. While mercifully our children appear to be symptom free of Covid-19, the elderly, people with chronic medical conditions and those with compromised immune systems are most vulnerable. 

As Mesothelioma (caused by inhaled asbestos fibres) is a cancer that affects the lungs, sufferers fall well and truly in the ‘at risk’ category. It is important for people with Mesothelioma to be especially cautious while this pandemic is spreading. According to Asbestos.com, those who are currently being treated for cancer, or have compromised immune systems, are at a greater risk of developing serious health issues if they contract the virus. 

COVID-19 and Mesothelioma

These two afflictions actually have a fair bit in common. Let’s break them down.

Covid-19

  • Affects the lungs
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue 
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing

Mesothelioma

  • Affects the lungs
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue

Novel coronavirus can infect anyone who is exposed to it and as we know is highly contagious. While mesothelioma is not contagious, it is a real risk to anyone who comes into contact with friable forms of asbestos – which is way more common than you would care to think. 

Another characteristic that the two share is who it commonly affects. Anyone can contract these ailments but the elderly take the largest portion of the impact. Mesothelioma usually develops slowly over time. Patients most often faced exposure to asbestos in occupations when they were younger. Older sufferers of mesothelioma, much like victims of the coronavirus, have a harder time fighting the infection. 

Coronavirus Precautions for Mesothelioma Patients

 While the general advice to slow the spread of the pandemic is to remain at home in self imposed isolation, this poses many problems for those in the midst of cancer treatment. 

Here are some tips we have gleaned from our research. 

Personal Transport

  • Wherever possible arrange private transport to treatment services. Avoid public transport such as trains, buses and taxis. Seek to have treatment at a clinic closer to home where possible.

Avoid Crowds

  • If you have to travel to a hospital, consider calling first to avoid crowded waiting rooms. And wherever possible, ask for alternative entry and exit points. 

Stay at Home

  • If you aren’t receiving treatment or have the option from your doctor to delay it, then cancel face to face appointments with health professionals or arrange over-the-phone or online meetings.

Clean

  • Regularly wash your hands with soap (20 seconds). This is particularly essential if you do have to use public spaces or if you have people, such as doctors or carers, enter your home. 
  • Clean and disinfect household surfaces regularly. Pay attention to surfaces that get handled often.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth with your hands. 

Mesothelioma Precautions for Everyone

Exposure to asbestos fibers is a problem still affecting Australia’s East Coast. But there are measures we can take to minimise the risk.

Learn to Identify Asbestos

  • Products that contain asbestos surround us – old building materials, insulation, and car brakes. Learning the difference between asbestos and fibre cement goes a long way. 

Asbestos Testing

  • If in doubt, consider seeking professionals to conduct sample testing for asbestos. This is a service often utilised by renovators and construction industry professionals. 

Safe Removal

  • When asbestos is discovered, it is important not to disrupt it and cause loose fibres to become airborne. Contact licensed professionals to safely demolish and responsibly remove asbestos. 

Keep yourself and your family safe from Coronavirus and, in the caos, remember to continue  keeping them safe from exposure to asbestos. Trust us – the two do not mix.