COVID-19

Stay Healthy and Safe

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation has been closely monitoring the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its spread throughout the United States since early 2020. COVID-19 has affected everyone in our community in one way or another, and we have made it a priority to stay abreast of medical and public health developments as our understanding of the effects of the virus grows.

Based on experiences throughout the world and in the U.S., people who have chronic medical issues are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, including those with pulmonary fibrosis. Patients with higher risk medical conditions should reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19. COVID-19 results from an infection by a respiratory virus (coronavirus) that can lead to inflammation and injury within the lungs. In some people, this can progress to a serious illness. However, most people infected with the virus will not become gravely ill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other infectious disease researchers have worked together to study the virus and to develop medical treatments for those infected and vaccines to protect against the virus that causes COVID-19. Research into the acute viral illness and the after-effects of COVID-19 is ongoing.

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What should I do if I think I have been infected with Covid-19?

Many symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to symptoms of other diseases. Symptoms generally occur within 10-14 days of exposure. Tell your physician if you experience these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Worsening cough
  • Increased shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you get sick, stay home and call your pulmonologist. If they are not available, contact your primary care physician. Let your doctor know about your symptoms and that you may have COVID-19. Get medical attention immediately if you have:

  • More difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Increased oxygen requirement

Should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

Three vaccines have been approved for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. In accordance with recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation strongly encourages vaccination for COVID-19, as the benefits far outweigh the risks. There are very few medical indications to not be vaccinated, and if you have concerns, reach out to your primary care physician and pulmonologist for more information.

People who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should proceed with vaccination, as the currently authorized  vaccines are highly effective in reducing the  severity and spread of disease. Strategies that are known to reduce the spread of infection, such as wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, social distancing, and frequent hand washing,  remain crucial in limiting the spread of COVID-19, especially as new variants of the  disease are discovered.

To learn more about the PFF’s position on COVID-19 vaccines for the PF community, please read our statement, The Importance of SARS-CO-V-2 Vaccination to Prevent COVID-19 and Its Impact in the Pulmonary Fibrosis Community. The PFF has developed a document of COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments Information and Resources to keep members of the PF community updated on current treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 and share relevant resources about these topics. 
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Are there special precautions that lung transplant patients should take?

Lung transplant recipients should continue to use an abundance of caution. Stay near your home and with those you live until the outbreak subsides. Strategies that are known to reduce the spread of infection, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and frequent hand washing, remain crucial in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Lung transplant recipients may have a lower immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine according to a recent study by Johns Hopkins University. While transplant patients had less antibody response to the first dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, the study is ongoing and additional information on second dose response is forthcoming. Vaccination is still recommended for post-transplant individuals, but they may not be as protected as the general population. Therefore, transplant recipients and those they live with should remain vigilant after  vaccination and continue to take precautions to prevent infection from COVID-19. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s video on this study provides additional information.

    PFF COVID-19 Resources

    Below are resources available for the pulmonary fibrosis community. If you have any questions, please call our PFF Help Center at 844.Talk PFF (844.825.5733) or help@pulmonaryfibrosis.org.

    Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

    PFF Guidance on COVID-19 |  EnglishSpanish (June 7, 2021)

    Frequently Asked Questions from PF Patients | English | Spanish (June 7, 2021)

    PFF Update on COVID-19 and Lung Fibrosis (May 25, 2021)

    COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Information and Resources | English Spanish (March 29, 2021)

    The Importance of SARS-CO-V-2 Vaccination to Prevent COVID-19 and Its impact in the Pulmonary Fibrosis Community |  English | Spanish  (December 28, 2020)

    PFF Statement on Lung Fibrosis in COVID-19 ARDS Survivors (April 4, 2020)

    In-Person Testing and Signature Requirements Waived for Home Oxygen Needs (April 2, 2020)

    PFF Response to COVID-19 Video Playlist

    Other Resources

    American Society of Transplantation
    American Thoracic Society

    Boston Children’s Hospital
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    What to do if you are sick | English | Spanish | Simplified Chinese

    COVID ACT NOW
    Johns Hopkins University

    Mental Health Resources
    National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    National Public Radio (NPR)
    Survivor Corps
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    U.S. Government Response To Coronavirus
    World Health Organization (WHO)

    References
    3 Polack, F. P. et al. Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine. The New England Journal of Medicine, (2020).