The most recent coronavirus outbreak is leaving a lot of people nervous and not just people that probably won’t catch it and shouldn’t be worried but many disabled people with chronic conditions that couldn’t fight it. Any virus can be potentially dangerous for disabled people and even the common cold can cause some disabled people to become very sick so the thought of a nasty virus going around is just scary. It can become very life-threatening so it’s no wonder, disabled people get nervous when you start talking about serious viruses they can kill you.  Disabled people with weakened immune systems won’t have the chance to fight it as you would without a chronic condition because your body is weaker and can’t handle it so you could lose that fight.  Sometimes we may be a little but it’s better to be prepared than not prepared at all. During times like this, there are some things disabled people want you to know a couple of things to keep each other healthy and not just for when deadly viruses come around but anytime you are sick.

Don’t risk the lives of others-  Using all your sick leave when you aren’t sick would be kind of silly as you still need to pay bills and won’t have any sick leave left for when you are actually sick if you panic and use it all now. Some people can’t afford to take loads of time off and I don’t think you need to if your not sick but if you are it’s a good idea to stop showing up to work to protect yourself and your peers until you know you’re not contagious. My friend Karly who has Muscular Dystrophy had one of her neighbors over to her house and was feeling sick and now being tested for the coronavirus! Luckily she isn’t showing any symptoms but it makes me so mad that someone would be so selfish to put a high-risk family in great danger by doing something that seems so obvious. If you feel unwell the only place you should be visiting is your doctor, not your neighbors as you could be putting their health in great danger. Karly’s family has a weakened immune system and catches pretty anything they come into contact with so the thought of getting something more serious is scary as it would be a difficult battle to fight.  Think about your friends before visiting them because even if it’s not the coronavirus or you could easily fight it off not all your friends will be able to and some people will be in a life threatening situation if they were to become ill.

Stop hoarding supplies– There has been a lot of panic about catching the coronavirus and for some people, I can see why there is some concern but what I don’t understand is what is the reason for getting so many unnecessary supplies. Ask yourself how is three hundred rolls of toilet paper and ten cases of water going to protect you?  It’s a virus so no it’s not and stalking up on these supplies will do nothing for you but the best thing you can do for your health is to disinfect everything, distance yourself from others and practice good hygiene. Some disabled people need these supplies to manage medical conditions and when you buy them in bulk because you are scared but don’t really need them you are making it difficult for people with chronic conditions to stay healthy and keep them well managed. Seriously though what are you going to do with all these extra supplies after this is all over?  It’s important you take precautions but it’s kind of ridiculous to buy three hundred rolls of toilet paper when it won’t help prevent the virus and after this is all over have you thought about what you’re going to do with it? Some people need extra rolls of toilet paper like those who have IBS or other gastrointestinal medical conditions and it can be frustrating when you have to go to three stores to get one roll. People with chronic conditions need these extra supplies so if you aren’t going to use them then please leave them for people who will.

Stop complaining about social isolation-  When you complain about being stuck in your house for a couple of weeks to a disabled person we are not going to feel bad for you but might say welcome to our lives! We are doing this to be safe and prevent the virus from spreading which is only temporary but for many disabled people this is not temporary but how we live our lives and this social isolation is not much different from our everyday life. We don’t often get to leave our house except for medical appointments and occasionally when we see our friends which for some might only happen once or twice a year as our schedules have to line up with our caregivers. Have some compassion and be grateful that it is only temporary and this is not your life as you will be able to see your friends when this is over while many disabled people will not which is hard!

Yes, we may be overreacting- Sometimes people tell me don’t worry about it you’re not going to catch it. Yes for most healthy people probably true but for those with chronic conditions, it is not a risk we can afford to take. I am not worried that I will catch the coronavirus as I haven’t left my house in three weeks but even the common cold can make it harder to breathe since my shunt tubing in the pleural cavity and something more serious can dangerous or scary as it will have more of an effect on my lungs. Disabled people don’t lose sleep or frantically panic over this but because our disability, has many challenges it’s always in the back of our minds and even if nothing comes of it there will be something else that we will worry about.

You can call a disabled person a little paranoid but to get a virus like this or something equally as bad can be a very scary thought and deadly for many disabled people. We can take preventative measures just like everyone else but we can’t control if someone we come into contact with is very ill and should probably stay away from. Think about the wellbeing of your friends and don’t bring your germs into the home of someone who is perfectly healthy as it will hit us harder and won’t be a fair fight.  We shouldn’t have to tell you that we are high risk and don’t want your germs as it should be common sense but apparently, it isn’t for many people. Who would want them anyways even healthy people without chronic conditions aren’t looking to get sick? If you don’t have a chronic condition and are sick you might not really think about these things because most of your friends can fight illness quickly but when you’re around someone with a chronic condition you need to think about it. Take the necessary precautions and avoid your friends if your sick as they will understand and appreciate you staying home! What are you doing to stay well to prevent any viruses or sickness in general?