As coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the world – plunging stock markets and health services into panic – it’s more important than ever to stay calm. There are plenty of things we can do to stay safe and if you’re fit and healthy, the chances are that you’ll be fine. But what about those patients who are living with chronic illnesses and already compromised immune systems?
The eighth person in the UK to die of the COVID-19 virus (at the time of writing) was being treated for ‘underlying health conditions’ when they passed away at the George Eliot Hospital in Warwickshire.
A Chinese study analysed more than 72,000 coronavirus cases in mainland China, and found that patients with heart disease and diabetes had up to a 10% mortality rate. It also found that patients in their 50s were about three times more likely to die than those in their 40s. The World Health Organisation has now warned that those people aged over 60 or who have an underlying chronic condition are at risk of developing severe COVID-19.
That’s why here at talkhealth, we’re busy helping our members to take control of their well-being during this outbreak. Now isn’t the time for panicking; if vulnerable people know how to stay safe and what to do in the case of a medical emergency, they should lower their risk.
Using Twitter to empower patients
In response to the crisis, we are hosting a Twitter chat on how to manage chronic conditions amid the coronavirus outbreak. The idea is that our community is able to talk to each other and to experts, rather than panicking alone or clogging up the NHS helplines at a time when medical services should be kept as free as possible. We want to empower them to take care of themselves during a frightening time.
Our previous Twitter chats have been unmitigated successes. Each time, we ask five questions to get our community talking and for our last one (hosted during Self Care Week back in November), we invited an array of individuals and organisations to discuss self-care routines, mental health issues and other related topics.
Tapping into big audiences
Normally tied to a specific event (World Psoriasis Day or World Menopause Day, for example), we’re able to tap into a ready-made pool of interest on Twitter that goes well beyond our 11,000 Twitter following – our last Twitter chat recorded over 120,000 views and 205,000 impressions. With coronavirus dominating the social media airwaves, we have a great opportunity to cut through the fake news and fear-mongering.
At our very core, talkhealth is about community and empowering patients to live their happiest, healthiest lives – in spite of their condition. We’re here to connect them to experts and other people going through the same thing as them, so that they have access to practical and reliable advice as well as emotional reassurance.
Our online chats play a big role in the service we’re able to offer.
If you’d like to sponsor our #TALKCORONAVIRUS Twitter chat, please get in touch