Living with Parkinson’s in a Pandemic
Advice from Prof Luke O. Neill, Trinity College Dublin:
Popular Covid-19 commentator and co-developer of Inflazome, a promising trial medication to slow Parkinson’s, Alzheimers and other conditions.
- Follow all the guidelines
- Try and keep your immune system healthy
- Good diet
- Good night’s sleep
- Social activity
- And very importantly – get vaccinated.
Advice from Dr Sean O’Sullivan, Consultant Neurologist, Bon Secours Hospital, Cork, with a speciality in Parkinson’s:
This is a really important topic.
Every PwP should adhere to national safety guidelines (hand washing, social distancing, quarantining etc.)
PwPs should accept the Covid19 vaccine, when offered it.
No indication vaccinations interfere with Parkinson’s treatments.
Covid-19 infection could potentially be more serious than somebody without Parkinson’s, particularly If there are respiratory problems and reduced baseline fitness levels. Exercise is usually the first question posed to a PwP in clinic.
Concern that a lot of PwPs seen have reduced their exercising the Covid-19 crisis, potential reasons:
- Infection risk may be a factor
- Reduced motivation and reduced mood because of the social isolation
- PwPs to need to be aware of reduction
Dr O’Sullivan concludes his advice as follows:
I see a lot of PwPs becoming withdrawn into themselves and even depressed during this very strange and frightening time.
Despite the fear and messages about staying at home as much as possible, I still encourage PwPs to get regular exercise every day.
I also strongly encourage people to keep active socially, even if it is only by telephone, in order to keep the mood and motivation levels up.
Advice from John Lonergan, Ex Governor Mountjoy Prison, and respected commentator on human behaviour:
Well my strategy since the lockdown commenced last March is to live one day at a time. I find it a good way to survive, and that’s what I am trying to do, just survive one day at a time until we get some light at the end of the tunnel. I also try to keep the current pandemic in perspective. I accept that it’s a horrible virus and many thousands of people have and are suffering as a result of it, and I accept that over 3,000 have died and that is horrific. But during the Spanish flu in Ireland in 1918/19 22,000 people died and that was the official figure, there’s lots of evidence to say that that figure was closer to 70,000, that is just over 100 years ago. Tuberculosis caused havoc here in the 1930/40/50s resulting in thousands dying. And the stigma attached to individuals and their families who had tuberculosis was scandalous. And of course we had HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.
I also keep in mind that the Government’s national strategy on Covid-19 is based on the psychological weapon of fear, their policy is to frighten people to adhere to the rules. Now that strategy is pretty successful insofar as most people stay within the guidelines. But there’s a negative side to this strategy, fear causes anxiety and stress and this is having detrimental consequences on people’s mental health. So my position is that I adhere to the guidelines and protocols and I take pot luck after that. I exercise everyday and I think positively, and I control and restrict the amount of information I focus on daily. I believe that there are no positive benefits to be got out of reading or listening to news programmes and articles on Covid-19 day in day out, hour in hour out.