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Opening Hours : Mon to Fri - 8.30am to 5pm, Sat - 8.30am - 1pm
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News and Media

Taking Immunosuppressants and Facing Covid-19

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

In our clinic, we have many patients who are taking medications for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Most of these medications are immunosuppressants – medications that can weaken the immune system. Recently, one of our long-term patients on a biologic (latest targeted therapy for psoriasis) emailed us, as he is worried about catching Covid-19 when his immunity is lower than other people.

Our advice to him, and patients facing the same dilemma, is this:

  • Practice good hand hygiene. Evidence suggests Covid-19 is spread by droplets. These droplets are land on surfaces that people touch, or when they cough or sneeze. Hence one should wash his or her hands frequently with soap and water. Follow the 8-steps of handwashing on the MOH website, or look for relevant videos on YouTube.
  • Avoid touching your face. Covid-19 can enter our body only via certain receptors on our cells. Their main portals of entry are our mucosal surfaces (eyes, nose, mouth). So no eating with bare hands, rubbing of eyes and picking of nose!
  • Get the influenza vaccine. This doesn’t prevent Covid-19, but is generally good advice for people with lower immunity. By reducing your risk of catching the common flu, it will reduce the chance of you having to see a doctor for flu symptoms and being suspected of having Covid-19.
  • Avoid crowded areas, especially enclosed, air-conditioned spaces eg. cinemas.
  • Consult your dermatologist before deciding whether to stop your medication. Most patients on immunosuppressants including biologics have severe skin conditions to begin with, and sudden cessation of medication can trigger a flare that may even require hospitalization.
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How our Clinic is Coping with Covid-19

The 2019 Coronavirus took many people by surprise. I first read about it on the news in December 2019. By Lunar New Year, things took a rapid turn for the worse and China took an unprecedented measure of locking down a whole province. In Singapore, the atmosphere is tense, but calmer than a week ago when shelves were emptied of rice, instant noodles and toilet paper. Every day, I see most people carrying on with their usual daily activities.

Many of our patients have postponed their appointments to avoid coming to medical centres and hospitals. Our clinic has taken measures to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. These include:

  1. Helping patients with stable conditions top up their medications when they postpone their appointments.
  2. Providing simple advice over the phone or email. We cannot make diagnoses or offer detailed treatment via these medium, but will try to help where we can.
  3. Complying with the Ministry of Health guidelines on screening all patients and accompanying persons at registration.
  4. Instituting temperature monitoring for all staff.
  5. Supplying our staff with personal protective equipment.
  6. Ensuring all staff maintain good hand hygiene.

If you need help, do not hesitate to call or email us. Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy. Together, we will overcome.

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