Coronavirus and PKD

Coronavirus and PKD: What You Should Know

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. Older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions, including kidney disease, seem to be at higher risk for more serious illness.  Therefore, it is especially important for people with PKD to take actions to reduce your risk of exposure.

Depending on the severity of the outbreak in your community, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommends the below to slow the spread and reduce the impact of the disease.

  • Stay home if you feel sick or have any symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills.
  • Avoid others who are sick. Limiting face-to-face contact with others as much as possible.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If you don’t have soap and water, use hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
  • Clean very often the things that get touched a lot, like door handles.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Practice social distancing by staying away from places with a lot of people (like restaurants or mass gatherings) and maintain a distance of about 6 feet from others when in public if possible. Avoid hugs and handshakes.
  • Wear a facemask if your healthcare team or someone from the public health office says you should.

Patients with early-stage kidney disease or who are post-transplant should consult with their doctors to see if any additional preventative measures are necessary

Call Ahead

If you are experiencing symptoms and feel you need to be seen by your doctor, call your healthcare provider before your appointment. Tell your health provider that you are concerned that you may have COVID-19. This allows your provider to take steps necessary to keep others from being exposed.

Guidance for Dialysis Treatments

If you are a dialysis patient, you may be at higher risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 but it’s important that you do not miss your treatments. If you feel sick, please be sure to tell a member of your healthcare team. The PHAC has up-to-date information on clinic closings and emergency resources. If you’re concerned, here are some questions you can ask the staff at your centre:

  • Can I wait in my car instead of in the waiting room?
  • What should I do if I have any flu-like symptoms?
  • Can you provide a mask for me to wear during my treatment?
  • What procedures do you have in place if you suspect a patient at the centre may have COVID‍-‍19?
  • How will you inform patients of any emergency information?
  • Where will I receive dialysis if I get sick?

Check out this 3-Day Emergency Diet Plan; it does not take the place of dialysis but can reduce the waste that builds up in your blood in an emergency where you are unable to get to your treatment.

Guidance for Post-Transplant Patients

If you are a post-transplant patient, due to your need for immunosuppressive drugs, you may be at higher risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. If you feel sick, please be sure to tell a member of your healthcare team. If you’re concerned, here are some questions you can ask the staff at your centre:

  • What should I do about having medications on hand?
  • If I am feeling sick, should I contact my primary care doctor?
  • If I am feeling sick, should I contact the transplant centre?
  • Should I wear a face mask when I need to have labs?

Guidance for pediatric patients

SickKids suggests that children who are immunocomprimised or have chronic medical conditions may be at greater risk of COVID-19 complications.  They reccomend that you take direction from your primary care team and to continue taking any medications that have been prescribed.  Get more "information for parents with immunocomprimised children and children with chronic medical conditions" from SickKids here.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress associated with the outbreak of COVID-19 is normal and may be different for each individual experiencing symptoms of stress or anxiety. Stress may include:

  • Fear about your own health of about the health of someone you care about
  • Difficulty sleeping or changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Chronic health problems can worsen
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs

The World Health Organization has listed mental health considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak in action to relive stress of those affected.  This list is helpful to individuals, those in leadership positions,  parents, healthcare workers and more.  You can read more here.

Things you can do:

  • Give yourself a break from news and social media
  • Take care of yourself
  • Deep breathing or meditation
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Exercise
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Find time to relax and unwind
  • Find time to do things you enjoy
  • Connect with others and discuss how you are feeling

Learn more about helping children cope here

Kidney-Friendly Shelf-Stable Items for Your Pantry

If there is a virus outbreak in your area and you need to decrease your risk of getting sick, it’s important that you have shelf-stable food (foods that last a long time without spoiling, such as canned foods) in your home. It’s important to prepare now by stocking up 2–3 weeks’ worth of healthy, kidney friendly foods, fresh water, and medicines. This will help reduce your risk of infection by allowing you to avoid crowded spaces like grocery stores and drug stores.More information about how to get your home ready and updates about COVID-19 can be found on the PHAC website or your local health department. If you have any other questions or concerns please email us at endpkd@endpkd.ca.

Useful Links from the Public Health Agency of Canada

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Outbreak UpdatesCoronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Frequently Asked QuestionsCoronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Travel Health NoticesPublic Health Authorities
Government of Canada novel coronavirus information line:   
1 833 784-4397

Additional Links:
National Kidney Foundation - COVID-19- How to Protect Yourself
Kidney Today - Corona virus and Kidney Patients
Kidney community Emergency Response- 3 Day Emergency Diet Plan
SickKids Hospital- COVID-19: Information for parents of immunocompromised children and children with chronic medical conditions

World Health Organization- Mental Health and Psyho-social considerations During the COVID-19 Outbreak