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Get information from qualified health professionals on the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Nurse on methotrexate

    Hi, I am a nurse on methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis. Is it ok to go to work during COVID-19 crisis?
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  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Amandeep Hansra

    GP (General Practitioner)

    If you are taking medications that affect your immune system you may be at higher risk of more serious COVID-19 disease. Due to the increased risk, you must take actions to reduce your risk of exposure including:

    1) Practising good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing
    2) Good sneeze and cough hygiene
    3) Self-isolation if you meet the criteria on the Department of Health website
    4) If you have any concerns, ensure you contact your GP or treating doctor for more advice.

    It is worth contacting your employer, explaining you are at increased risk as you are on medications that affect your immune system and seeing what they can put in place to keep you protected.

    https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-healthcare-staff.aspx has more information about protecting vulnerable health care workers.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Irwin Lim

    Rheumatologist

    Irwin completed his Rheumatology training in 2003. The majority of his time is spent treating inflammatory arthritis and in particular rheumatoid arthritis and the spondyloarthritis. … View Profile

    You likely have a higher risk of infection with the autoimmune disease, particularly if it is active and not well controlled.

    While MTX might increase your risk a little, that is not clear, and if MTX is actually controlling the underlying disease well, the balance would be in favour of maintaining MTX.

    Of course, if you are working on the front line, your risk is higher for Covid-19. It's best to talk with your treating rheumatologist of course as they will know your specific situation.

    As a general statement, I would try to limit contact with people of course and work in situations that enable that if at all possible.

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