To say we are living in a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty has become an understatement. It’s an anxious time for all Canadians as the way we interact, work, shop and do almost everything else has been dramatically altered. We have decided to close our National Office in Paris, ON. Our Managing Director, Lauren Vording, will work from her home and will have access to all the resources she needs to carry on the day-to-day operations of the Sjögren’s Society of Canada. She will continue to respond to your phone messages and emails in a timely manner. Please contact our office, 1-888-558-0950 with any questions or concerns.
In response to the latest information and in the best interest of the Sjögren’s community, we have postponed our National Patient Conference which was scheduled to take place April 24-25, 2020 in Mississauga Ontario. We have rescheduled our Conference for October 17, 2020 and will keep all of our members informed of the event moving forward. Our London Walk for Sjögren’s has not been postponed or cancelled at this time but please watch for updates on our website and Facebook page.
For you, as a Sjögren’s patient, the key is not to panic but to take care of yourself. You are not more susceptible to becoming infected by the coronavirus than others, but if you do get diagnosed as being positive with COVID-19, the complications from COVID-19 may be more severe. Your risk of severe disease may be higher if you have a weakened immune system which may be the case for older people, people with other chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart, renal or chronic lung disease. Please note though, that not all Sjögren’s patients have compromised immune systems. However, some medications commonly taken by Sjögren’s patients may suppress the immune system, including Arava (leflunomide), Imuran (azathioprine), cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, prednisone, Solu-Medrol (methylprednisolone), CellCept (Mycophenolate mofetil), and Rituxan (Rituximab). Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine), on the other hand, does not suppress the immune system. If you require being tested and treated for COVID-19, ensure that you inform your health care professional that you suffer from Sjögren’s. For more information regarding the symptoms, how to protect yourself, and diagnosis and testing, please go to our website, www.sjogrenscanada.org, to read a statement from our President, Dr. Leslie Laing.
More than ever, it is important to learn from each other, ask for help and share resources. Your peers are your greatest assets! Ask them how they are handling this situation, what decisions they are making, sharing tools and strategies, as well as questions and concerns. If you are part of a local Support Group, ask your Support Group Leader or other members for advice. We ask that you practise social distancing and not meet with fellow members in your communities at this time and for the foreseeable future. For more information, please refer to Canada Public Health. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html. We will continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and keep our members informed of any relevant developments.
Please take care of yourselves and feel free to contact us for any further information.