Myasthenia Gravis News Forums Forums COVID-19 and MG Immunosuppressants and Going Out in Public With COVID-19

  • Immunosuppressants and Going Out in Public With COVID-19

    Posted by Jodi Enders on July 30, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    I have been back and forth lately with myself on whether the risks I take going out in public crowds and spaces are worth it with MG. I am still on high doses of immunosuppressants. I hope to try to wean off of them over the next year. However, another year of quarantining seems draining in addition to how long I, and I assume many of you have since COVID-19 began.

    I am vaccinated, but certain studies suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine may not be fully or effective at all for people taking immunosuppressants and are immunocompromised. I have scheduled a few trips flying for the fall, planning to be as precautious as possible. I have stopped feeling like myself, maybe with my diagnosis coming in the middle of summer last year during the lockdown.

    It has been hard to forgive myself to take some risks if it means holding on to a bit of my identity to stay hopeful during these challenging times. I am also struggling to find remote jobs that fit what I need, but I know taking a job in person could jeopardize my health.

    Are any of you struggling with similar predicaments? What are your thoughts on rising COVID-19 numbers and going out into public spaces?

    Charles Karcher replied 1 year, 11 months ago 17 Members · 24 Replies
  • 24 Replies
  • Delores Gstling

    Member
    August 1, 2021 at 4:21 am

    I am very cautious about going out into public. I choose to select my places carefully before I go out.If the place is crowded I do not go inside and come on back home if it’s fairly decent I will go inside I will have on my mask and will observe how everything is going on within that store . If I noticed that children  might be running rampant or the people have the mask beneath their nose I tend to stop shopping and leave. If people are not distancing properly I tend to leave the store also.

    • Jodi Enders

      Moderator
      August 11, 2021 at 1:42 am

      Its finding balance and giving myself grace for when I may have taken too big of a risk is something I currently struggle with. Hopefully, we don’t have to put up with these limitations much longer!

      • RINA NEL

        Member
        August 19, 2021 at 1:24 pm

        I live in terrible South Africa. I am 71 years old and I go anywhere. I sanitize before entering a shop and I keep my mask on all the time. Lucky for me I need to have my darkglasses on all the time as my eyes are so light sensitive.

        I have decided that I am nit going for the vaccine. Quite a few people around us died in the last couple if weeks after taking the 2nd shot. They were healthy people. We take Ivermectin every 2 weeks and I just feel that we need to calm down.

        Just saying.

        Rina Nel

  • Scott McCormack

    Member
    August 11, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I am in the ramp up process with Prednisone, currently at 60 mg/day.  Although I was fully vaccinated (Moderna) in March, I wear an N95 respirator mask anytime I go out.  I also limit my public forays to necessary trips.  The biggest challenge is my wife’s fear that, although also vaccinated, she could acquire the virus and pass it to me.  No easy answers but we try to strike a balance between safety and living a good life.</p>

  • Joseph Kest, Jr.

    Member
    August 11, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    I am taking CellCept and Prednisone and am very cautious in public places. I was fully vaccinated with the  Pfizer vaccine in January and February of this year. I understand the CDC is investigating the possibility of providing a booster shot to those with compromised immunity systems. In the meantime I were a mask in public places and try to maintain a social distance.

  • Craig

    Member
    August 12, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Scott McCormack raises a great point, that is also my experience.  My wife is more afraid of catching covid (or the flu, or anything) and bringing it home than I am afraid it myself.   (I’m cautious but not afraid)

    “If you go out and catch something and die, it’s your fault – you didn’t wear your mask properly, didn’t wash your hands enough, didn’t social distance when you should have.  If I go out and catch something, bring it home and you die then I’ll have to live with that”.

    I think it’s an excuse to make me do all the grocery shopping but at least I get to select the junk food.  🙂

     

  • Charles Karcher

    Member
    August 13, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    I was very excited to be immunized in Feb and Mar to the point of buying tickets for an October indoor concert.  Now I am on the verge of canceling the hotel reservation and attempting to sell the ticket.  I wear a mask at all times.  I have not gone to restaurants or movie theaters and have no plans to do so in the foreseeable future.  I was having my groceries delivered and may go back to that procedure soon.

    • Jodi Enders

      Moderator
      August 14, 2021 at 2:44 am

      I experience the same mental frustration of feeling lost in the memory of my old self and hobbies. Of course, right when we begin planning to get back to that, the world tries to knock us down some more!

  • Ann Marie Hetrick

    Member
    August 14, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    I do my grocery shopping at 6:30 am . I basically have the store to myself. It usually is just a few customers going to work and picking up donuts and coffee. I do not like going anywhere that is crowed and avoid it as much as possible. I do alot of my my shopping online for clothes and other things. I take cellcept and mestinon.

  • Carrie McDade

    Member
    August 14, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    I am able to limit my trips to stores, as my husband is willing and able to do the grocery shopping, etc. When I do go out, I wear an N 95 mask.  I recently had antibody tests done, the IgG and T cell tests, and they both came back negative. This means I have no immunity after two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. I was on 20 mg of prednisone when I had my two doses in the winter. I am on a slow taper, and I am now down to 5 mg of prednisone per day. I have an appointment to get a third Pfizer vaccine this afternoon, and I’m hoping I have a big reaction to it, meaning my immune system is revving up. Wish me luck!

  • Linda A HEYS

    Member
    August 17, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    My husband has MG and COPD and I am asthmatic. We visited our Pulmonologist last week and discussed our attending Sunday Mass at our catholic church. Church is full and few masks. He said it was very risky and suggested TV Mass. He explained because my  husband is on Cellcept  he is very compromised and that although I  am fully vaccinated, I may very well pick it up (in a very crowded situation as this)  and may not feel sick but bring it home to him.  He too is a Roman Catholic and he feels God  would understand.    We think we will attend a weekday Mass where there are far, far fewer people in attendance.  Any other folks struggling with this ??

    • Craig

      Member
      August 17, 2021 at 1:20 pm

      Linda, that’s certainly something that has been an issue for many folks. I find that watching on TV “checks the box” but missing out on the community experience is a big loss.  Attending weekday services is a terrific alternative. One of the churches near me set up a weather-permitting outdoor Mass each week, another has introduced a specific “for those at risk” service where they enforce every-other-row and family-based social distancing and ask for mask wearing.  That’s working for now because the weather has cooperated and people are cooperating, respectively.  If you’re missing the community aspect of attending services, maybe talk to your priest to see if they know of anything like that at a surrounding parish as well, but I think you’re on the right track with the weekday services.

      • Linda A HEYS

        Member
        August 17, 2021 at 4:39 pm

        thank you, I appreciate your comments . I think we probably will stick to a weekday Mass with maybe 50 people well spread  out as opposed to a Sunday Mass with 300  packed in. God Bless

  • Deborah A Dortzbach

    Member
    August 18, 2021 at 2:48 am

    This continues to be an ongoing challenge. Today I received my 3rd dose of Pfizer vaccine (at the recommendation of my neurologist). I am very grateful for this “boost” and at the same time aware it is not complete protection since I also take cellcept, prednisone, and a biologic for another systemic arthritis in addition to MG. But I am determined to be vigilant, do all that I can, and encourage others to also protect themselves and others (get vaccinated) and be aware of my environment (what are the vaccination rates, the infection rates and trends in my city) and even take risks.  For a time I returned to swimming in a warm indoor pool (it was heavenly and greatly helped my arthritis and sense of well-being.). The environment was controlled–not too many people.  But now I have stopped, because the Delta variant rates are driving up the rates in my city and the pool is indoors increasing the risk.  I think we need to advocate that more places require vaccinated-only admissions, allowing people like ourselves to participate without high risk of infection.  It is very important that we do get out in public–safely. It really helps our sense of belonging and perspective, community, and well-being. I try to think about the fact that risk is cumulative and consider the amount of time, numbers of exposures (people), distance, time of day I visit a store, COVID rates and trends in my area as well as behaviors (people wearing masks?). I now double mask when going out because of the Delta variant. I also visit parks, arrange for picnics with friends, take short walks with friends (often they have to stop and rest with me!).

  • Charles Karcher

    Member
    August 18, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    Received my third shot today.  My county is in the red zone.  I am not going anywhere.  I am contemplating returning to grocery delivery.  I am also canceling a trip for an indoor concert.  I was very excited to book the trip after being vaccinated but now consider the trip too dangerous.

  • William Scruggs

    Member
    August 18, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    I have had three infusions of Rituximab and am still receiving IVIG every six weeks. I have had two doses of the Phizer vaccine. I recently had a SARS COVID-19 antibody test with a positive result of 3.94 U/ml. The problem is nobody can tell me what this means except less that 1.8 U/ml is negative. I plan to get a booster 3rd shot. Does anyone else had such a test?

    • BBernadette

      Member
      August 19, 2021 at 7:26 pm

      I’ve had several antibody tests. My 1st one was 1 month after my J&J vaccine and it was 25 U/ML. The second was 3 months after my vaccine and it was 250. I’m not sure if this was the same type of tests as yours. It said anything above 0.8  U/ml was positive.

  • Kelly Criezis

    Member
    August 20, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    I don’t want to sound naïve but my husband is anxiously waiting the start of prednisone but first his neurologist wants to make sure that all of his scans are clear. They saw some potential cysts on his kidneys So he is now on his fourth scan in past 2 weeks being diagnosed with only ocular MG. His neurologist wanted to do a baseline Brain scan, CT of the chest and then once they saw some shadows he had to do an ultrasound of the chest. Now they didn’t show  anything so he has to do a CT scan with and without contrast on his abdomen. He is getting very frustrated because he wants to start the prednisone which we are hoping will correct the drooping eyelid and double vision and hopefully, as some studies have shown, prevent potential onset of generalized MG. Again we are really looking forward to starting the prednisone and know it is a miracle drug though is not 100%. However I’m starting to get worried about these comments about being more cautious about going out. The doctor did recommend he get a booster after having had both Moderna shots but we both really think it is too soon as I’m not convinced the initial booster didn’t trigger something in his system to bring this on (Though very well aware that I could be wrong). Regardless, we do not regret him getting the first set of vaccines. However we have a daughter going to college and son very active in an intense soccer league and lots of traveling  and now I’m starting to be concerned that my husband should be more sheltering in place once he starts the prednisone. I feel like if he’s careful and masks up and washes his hands we should be all right but maybe you can share if any of you have gotten sick from going out while you are on prednisone or what the risks are. Of course we will reconfirm all our concerns with our physician. Thanks so much this is all just so new to us (Sorry for the long post)

    • Craig

      Member
      August 21, 2021 at 4:38 am

      Hi Kelly, that’s the question we’re all struggling with I think – what feels safe for us at any time.  When I read your note, I think it’s probably good news that your husband has had both of the initial vaccine doses before he started the prednisone.  I think that would mean he is more likely to have developed antibodies than those of us who were on immunosuppressants when we got our vaccines.  Once he does start the prednisone he should probably be more careful than he is now.  Many of us have been told to act like we’re not vaccinated in terms of masking, distancing, hand washing, etc.      Depending on the timing of his tests, he may be able to get that 3rd shot before starting the prednisone, which in theory will give him better protection than if he he gets if afterwards.

       

      best of luck getting him through the testing and into treatments.  I’m sure it’s frustrating but even prednisone has a laundry list of side effects and it’s important they check those things out.

       

       

       

  • Kelly Criezis

    Member
    August 21, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Hi Craig thank you so much for your comments they are very helpful!  Best to you as well!

    kelly

  • Michele Ayers

    Member
    June 18, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    I Just don’t know what to do with this.

    I’ve had 2 vaccines and 2 boosters.

    It has been hard enough without MG to be in this covid world.

    I have limited social activities to the max…before I knew I had mg because I am helping my 95 year old mother..and need to protect her.

    I feel I dropped out of life even more now that I have MG. I have performed singing with a mask…but I want to see friends and take a dance class!..and covid is rising in LA..my friends are getting sick who were vaxed and boosted..and I haven’t seen my friends who aren’t vaxed..that only seems wise…but it’s mentally exhausting, right/? I”m so glad I found this site…thanks

  • Prosper Abusah

    Member
    June 23, 2022 at 1:47 am

    As vaccines are not effective in immunocompromised people , we cannot start taking risks because we are fully vaccinated and have two booster doses . The risk is simply too great .
    Our only hope for ” normal ” life is when they find an effective treatment for covid 19 .
    Life is too precious to take risk on . It is very frustrating but it is better we have a frustrating life than the other option . Let us keep up the hope .

  • Dave Hall

    Member
    June 25, 2022 at 12:15 am

    I am retired, live on my farm, out in the country.  I no longer go to local Farmers Markets to sell my produce, and never thought I would rely on Amazon Prime so much.  But all in all, I feel good about what I am doing.  I still go to the therapy pool five mornings every week, early in the morning to avoid people.  I miss going to the movies with my wife, again, to avoid people.  Life could be better, but I am thankful for what I have.  I can still feed my donkeys, my horse, and love to watch the squirrels run around.

  • Charles Karcher

    Member
    June 29, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    The main joy in my life was live music.  Before MG and Covid I attended at least a half dozen concerts a year.  Since my diagnosis and Covid shortly thereafter I have not attended a live performance nor plan to do so.  The thought of sitting with thousands of strangers in a concert hall scares the hell out of me.  Basically I will never go back to a concert hall.  I am considering weekday movie matinees after the movie has been out for a couple of weeks but have not yet.  I am basically homebound.

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