coronavirus and parkinson’s
This page was updated on 8 April 2020 at 5:15pm. This advice will be updated as new information becomes available.
We’ve all seen coronavirus (or COVID-19) in the headlines. Our priority is supporting people living with Parkinson’s, their families and caregivers. This page is intended to be a one stop reference point giving you access to the facts and information that is relevant to you. Please bookmark this page as we will be updating the information regularly.
The Parkinson’s NSW specialist care team is here to support you by calling 1800 644 189 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to update our website as new information becomes available.
What you need to know:
- As of 26 March 2020 the NSW Government has ordered the closure of all indoor venues including hotels, clubs, restaurants, sporting and religious venues. (Cafes and restaurants may continue to provide take-out and delivery services). Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.
- Schools remain open for those families who have no other choice in terms of available childcare alternatives. Please refer to state and territory education authorities for latest information. Read more.
- Non-essential indoor gatherings are restricted to one person for every four square metres of space. The same is recommended for essential gatherings.
- Tighter restrictions on weddings, funerals, fitness classes, beauty salons, arcades, play centres and other public spaces are now in place.
- Tasmania, the NT, WA, Queensland and SA announced border closures. Anyone entering is to self-isolate for 14 days. See specific State and Territory Government sites for information.
How is it spread?
The virus is most likely spread person-to-person through:
- Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
- Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes
- Touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs and handles) contaminated by a cough or sneeze from an infectious person
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
How can we prevent the spread?
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of it in the bin, and wash your hands
- If you feel unwell, avoid contact with others (stay 1.5m apart from people)
How to wash your hands properly
What is social distancing?
The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
Steps for social distancing in all homes include:
- stay at home unless going out is absolutely necessary
- keep visitors to a minimum
- reduce visits to the shops — instead, buy more goods and services online if you can for pick-up, pre-order or delivery
- carefully consider what travel and outings are necessary, both individual and family
- regularly disinfect surfaces that are touched a lot, such as tables, kitchen benches and doorknobs
- increase ventilation in the home by opening windows or adjust air conditioning
Read the full social distancing guidance from the Department of Health here
For most people, coronavirus is a mild disease with a quick recovery. But for older Australians, it can be more serious.
Together, we can help stop the spread and stay healthy.
What does isolation in your home mean?
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must stay home to prevent it spreading to other people
- Do NOT go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres or university
- Ask a family member or friend to get food and other essentials and leave them at your door
- Do NOT let visitors in – only people who usually live with you should be in your home
What do I do if I develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) within 14 days of arriving in Australia, or within 14 days of last contact of a confirmed case, you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment.
It is imperative that you:
- Contact your GP’s office BEFORE you arrive to let them know if you have been overseas or in contact with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19
- You must isolate yourself either in your home, hotel or health care setting until authorities have informed you it is safe for you to return to usual activities
- If you have any questions, contact the InfoLine on 1800 644 189 or call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
Who is most at risk of serious illness?
- People with a compromised immune system (e.g. cancer patients)
- Elderly people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as they have a higher rate of chronic illness
- People with chronic medical conditions (e.g. lung or heart disease)
- People in group residential settings
- People in detention facilities
Should I wear a mask?
You do not need to wear a mask if you are healthy. While the use of masks can help to prevent transmission of disease from infected patients to others, masks are not currently recommended for use by healthy members of the public for the prevention of infections like coronavirus
What more can I do?
- Be kind to one another
- Stay connected through phone calls, text messages and social media
- Stay active
- Follow the information supplied by reliable sources
- Social distancing doesn’t need to mean social isolation
For the latest advice, information and resources:
- National Coronavirus Help Line 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450
- Your state or territory health agency. Contact details are available at www.health.gov.au/state-territory-contacts
- If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor (call before attending)
- Parkinson’s related information or advice call Parkinson’s NSW InfoLine 1800 644 189
- Australian Govt landing page which is frequently updated on COVID-19 https://www.australia.gov.au/
- Australian Government Dept of Health daily status update visit here
- Australian Government Dept of Health on how to protect yourself and others visit here
- ACCC advice for consumers during COVID-19 situation – including consumer rights around travel and event cancellations, grocery pricing etc. Visit here
- World Health Organisation Q&A page on Coronavirus. Visit here
- Australian Taxation Office hotline for tax questions during COVID-19 situation. Visit here
- Australian Govt Department of Home Affairs re: latest travel alerts and restrictions, Visit here
- HealthDirect – Excellent FAQs on various aspects of COVID-19. Visit here
- Australian Psychological Society (APS) on how to deal with Coronavirus anxiety and how to maintain mental health during lock-down. Visit here
- ABC news guide to what’s open and what’s closed, and likely timeline. Visit here
Parkinson’s-specific COVID-19 information
- Parkinson’s Foundation blog – live Q&A sessions about COVID and Parkinson’s. Visit here
- Michael J. Fox Foundation ‘Ask the MD’ content re: COVID and Parkinson’s. Visit here
- Shake It Up overview – overlaps with Michael J. Fox content above. Visit here
- Parkinson’s News Today (published from US) overview. Visit here
Emotional and mental well-being
- Beyond Blue has helpful tips on how to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
- The Australian Psychological Society has an information sheet on how to cope with coronavirus anxiety.
- The World Health Organisation has issued a statement about mental health and the coronavirus.
- RUOK? have some tips about looking out for family members or friends who are struggling.
- ReachOut has ’10 ways to take care of yourself during coronavirus’.
- The Butterfly Foundation has tips and advice for people with eating disorders.
- Emerging Minds have resources about talking to children about disasters or traumatic events.
- Phoenix Australia has tips for you and your fami0 mly.
- Kids Helpline is a phone counselling service for children and young people.
- Wayahead Directory has a list of mental health and community services.
- Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health for resources, information and support.
- Orygen has information for young people and families.
- Roses in the Ocean has mental health tips for working from home
- Centres for disease control and prevention has tips on managing stress and anxiety
- Mindspot – staying mentally and physically well
- Head to Health – mental health tips
- YouTube Parkinson’s-specific exercise to do at home:
- Balance exercises go here
- Coordination exercises go here
Lighter information on coping during self-isolation
- Epicurious web site on cooking and eating during the Coronovirus era. Visit here
- SMH: How people locked down in other countries are coping. Visit here
- SMH: The non-panicky guide to cooking your way through quarantine. Visit here
- RSPCA is encouraging people in self-isolation to adopt pets. Read here
- SBS: Coronavirus and your dog – no need to panic yet. Read here