Recommendations for Healthcare Providers and Essential Workers
Having IBD while working in healthcare—or any other field deemed essential—during the COVID-19 pandemic is especially challenging. The information below is intended to help you evaluate your risk and provide guidance on potential accommodations.
First, consider your contact risk or likelihood of exposure to individuals with COVID-19. For example, if you are a healthcare worker and work in a direct patient care setting, your risk of exposure is high compared to those who work in a healthcare call center. If you conduct tele-visits, you have less exposure to the community and may have a lower risk of being exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
The second factor is your risk based on the IBD therapies you're using. See our resource about updates and recommendations on IBD medications. It is important to note that experts recommend continuing IBD therapies at this time; however, always talk to your doctor about your treatment plan if you have concerns or questions.
If you are concerned about your potential exposure, we recommend that you:
- Talk to your supervisor or colleagues about ways to minimize your risk and avoid high-exposure situations. For instance, are there other jobs or tasks that you can do instead of your current role?
- Practice frequent hand washing and meticulous hygiene.
- Practice social distancing, as much as possible, even at work. For instance, if you are in a common space with other staff, try to sit further apart if feasible.
- Consider wearing a facemask and/or gloves when you are in the workplace. Please note that supplies may be limited so this may not be possible.