Multiple sclerosis treatments leave people vulnerable during COVID-19 outbreak

Joplin Area Coronavirus

Courtesy of KNWA

ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — March 28 is “Progressive MS Day”, which highlights the services needed for more-debilitating forms of multiple sclerosis. One of those services is treatment, which is a necessary step in slowing down disease symptoms. A side effect could prove extremely dangerous during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jeff Hagers is a Rogers High School teacher, and he has primary progressive multiple sclerosis. His infusion treatments weaken his immune system, putting him at a higher risk for more severe reactions if he were to contract COVID-19. For now, he’s hunkering down with his family and taking measures to make sure the virus doesn’t get inside his home.

Groceries are disinfected the moment they’re brought in the house, Hagers said, and the family ceased ordering takeout food.

“If I don’t shake your hand, it’s not because I don’t wanna meet you,” Hagers said. “It’s because I don’t know if you’ve been exposed, and you don’t either.”

Hagers’ treatments are every six months, so there’s not an option to simply halt therapy. It’s not worth doing that anyway, he said. If he stops treatments, his body will start attacking itself. He’s prepared to quarantine for as long as it takes.

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