We're here for you if you want to talk

0808 2080 888

[email protected]

Blood cancer and coronavirus

We're here for you if you want to talk

0808 2080 888

[email protected]

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a virus that can affect the lungs and airways.

If you are a healthcare professional, our healthcare professionals pages contain the latest guidance and tools to help you care for your patients and yourself.

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Last updated: 24 March 2020

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals. Some of them have made the jump to humans. The latest coronavirus to do this is COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a new illness so we don't know exactly how it is passed on. However, similar viruses are spread through small droplets when people cough.

The infection could also be passed on by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. 

Who is at high risk?

Last updated: 20 May 2020

Adults and children with blood cancer may have a compromised immune system and therefore be at high risk of serious illness from coronavirus. Those at high risk include people who:

  • currently have any type of blood cancer, whether you are having treatment or not
  • have had an autologous transplant (using your own stem cells) in the last year
  • have had an allogeneic transplant (using donor stem cells) in the last two years
  • are on immunosuppression medication after a transplant, have GvHD, or have ongoing immunodeficiency after a transplant

There is more detail about who is included in this high risk group on our page Am I at high risk?

If you fall into any of these categories, you should be contacted directly by the NHS about shielding.

Signs and symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated: 20 May 2020

The main ymptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • change to your sense of smell or taste.

If you are worried, you can use 111 online to check your risk. Do not visit your GP, pharmacy or hospital. 

You should also call 111 or use 111 online if you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus.

If you feel unwell

Last updated: 20 May 2020

If you feel unwell, contact your healthcare team as usual. If you are currently having chemotherapy, contact your chemotherapy support line urgently. Do not visit your GP, pharmacy or hospital.

You can also call 111 or use 111 online if you’re worried about coronavirus symptoms, but always contact your healthcare team too.

If you have a new cough or high temperature, you should stay at home (self-isolate) for 7 days, and everyone else you live with should stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days. There is more information about self-isolation on the NHS self-isolation page.

Call 111 or use 111 online if your symptoms haven't gone away after 7 days.

Ibuprofen and paracetamol

The Commission on Human Medicines has now confirmed that there is no clear evidence that using ibuprofen to treat symptoms such as a high temperature can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat the symptoms of coronavirus. It is advised to try paracetamol first, as it has fewer side effects than ibuprofen and is the safer choice for most people.

Tell us about your experience

You can help improve support for people with blood cancer by completing our impact of coronavirus survey. The results will help us understand the impact on people with blood cancer and help us support clinicians and the NHS.

Keep updated about coronavirus and blood cancer

Join our mailing list for key updates about coronavirus for people with blood cancer, what we're doing to help, and ways you can help, including campaigns you may be interested in.

Support for you

Call our free and confidential helpline on 0808 2080 888 from Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 1pm.

We are currently receiving a very high volume of calls related to coronavirus, so if you're not able to get through straight away, please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

You can also email us if you prefer to get in contact that way. We'll usually get back to you within two working days, but due to the current rate of calls and emails we are currently receiving it may take us longer.

Talk to other people with blood cancer on our Online Community Forum – there is a group for coronavirus questions and support.

You can also find out what's helping other people affected by blood cancer through coronavirus and beyond in our pages on living well with or after blood cancer.

The following companies have provided funding for our coronavirus support, but have had no further input: AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Celgene, Gilead, Incyte, Kyowa Kirin, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda.