Gastro Health Guidance for Our Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to our entire global population. No one is spared the anxieties of the uncertainty we face. We recognize that our Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis patients are challenged with the added concern of whether they are at increased risk of contracting the virus, or at increased risk of having a more severe disease course.

At present, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation has issued guidance for patients with inflammatory bowel disease. To summarize:

  1. IBD patients should be meticulous about social distancing, minimizing outings for any purpose that are not absolutely vital, frequent hand washing, avoiding touching their nose, eyes, or mouth, and frequent disinfecting of surfaces.
  2. Medications that contain mesalamine do not affect the body’s natural immunity and should be continued.
  3. Steroids such as prednisone do affect the immune system, but it should be a clinical decision whether to continue based on the medical need. It can be dangerous to abruptly discontinue steroids making it vitally important that any of our patients on steroids reach out to their Gastro Health physician to discuss how to optimally manage their regimen.
  4. Immunomodulators (6MP, 6-Mercaptopurine, Azathioprine, Imuran), methotrexate, and Tofacitinib (Xeljanz) should be continued.
  5. Biologics include any medications for Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis that are given by injection or given intravenously and should be continued. Even temporarily discontinuing these medications can diminish or eliminate their benefit. It is important that patients who are on biologics communicate with their Gastro Health provider if adjustments to medications need to be considered.

These guidelines are based on expert opinion and naturally can change as more is learned. A global registry of patients with IBD who have contracted COVID-19 exists and is being monitored closely.

In this time of uncertainty, you can take comfort in the fact that your Gastro Health physician is invested in making sure that you benefit from the latest science-based information to guide you in this trying time.

COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

Gastro Health is steadfast in our commitment to providing you with outstanding medical care throughout this public health crisis and well into the future. We want you to know that our offices are open and, in accordance with CDC recommendations, we are continuing to minimize exposure risks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at our locations.

We are now offering telehealth visits, allowing our patients to get the care they need safely from home. Patients need a device with a camera and microphone. Please call your doctor’s office to find out options available to you.

Florida

In order to protect our patients and staff, we’re asking that all people who meet the following criteria do not enter our locations and call to reschedule appointments at a later date.

  • If you have recently (within the last 14 days) traveled outside of the United States
  • Been exposed to COVID-19
  • Or have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Also, we ask that, consistent with the CDC’s social distancing recommendation, you attend your appointment alone. If it is essential for you to have someone accompany you to your appointment, please limit it to one person. In addition, that person will be subject to the same screening as others.

Our offices have adjusted the type of services being provided at the office during this time to urgent/emergent visits. We have implemented a telehealth solution to continue to provide treatment to patients with non-urgent/routine/surveillance needs. There will be some services that will be delayed; however, we are making every effort to continue to provide our patients with quality care and ensure an excellent healthcare experience during this time. Please call our office for additional details.

For additional information related to offices in various states, please visit our state-specific pages below:

For questions related to gastroenterology or your appointment, please call our office. (Find your doctor’s office number here.)