Physical branch meetings are currently cancelled due to COVID-19. However there are virtual activities being run by some branches. Please contact your local branch for more information.

We hope you find the information on these pages helpful. Our team is working tirelessly to provide up to date advice in relation to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. Record numbers of people are now turning to NASS for support, and we hope to be here for everyone. Our helpline and advice service are only possible thanks to donations from people like you.

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COVID19 / Coronavirus

NASS have advice and guidance for people living with axial SpA (AS) – Updated 29/07/20

Since the start of the COVID19 / Coronavirus pandemic NASS have carefully monitored the situation for people living with axial SpA (AS). This page includes the answers to your most frequently asked questions. If you have a question which we haven’t covered below please contact the NASS Helpline on 0208 741 1515 between 10:00 and 16:00 Monday to Friday. You can also email asknass@nass.co,uk.

Am I at more risk from COVID19 because I have axial SpA (AS)?

If you have a forward stoop (kyphosis) and / or a reduced ability to expand your chest and ribcage you could be at greater risk if you contract COVID19. It’s possible you may also be at greater risk if you take medication that suppresses the immune system such as anti TNF therapy, IL-17A inhibitors, DMARDs (most notably methotrexate) and steroids (10mg or more per day), . Take advice from your own rheumatology team on your level of risk. Do not stop taking any medication without advice from your rheumatology team

What changes are taking place for people who are shielding?

Advice for people shielding is slowly being relaxed. If you’re worried about the changes take it one step at a time. This useful guide from ARMA provides more information about the changes and will help you make the right decisions on going outside.

Download the ARMA Guide.

Should I continue to have my blood tests if I am on biologics or DMARDS?

Current guidelines by the British Society for Rheumatology state that people on biologics should have their blood tested every six months, and those on DMARDs should have blood tests every three to four months. Your blood tests are important and you should attend any appointments as normal. Clinics have taken many precautions to ensure a safe environment.

Will I see my rheumatologist and physiotherapist as usual?

There may be delays to planned appointments as staff in rheumatology departments were redeployed during COVID19. To keep everyone safe, a lot of appointments are being carried out over the phone or online. NASS has produced a short video to help you make the most of remote appointments.

When will my NASS branch get started again?

A lot of our NASS branches have moved to offering online sessions so you can exercise safely from your home. These session are led by physiotherapists and still enable you to have a chat with others living with axial SpA (AS). You can find your local NASS branch by putting your postcode in the search box on this page. We will let you know when branches start to offer face to face sessions again.

How can I safely exercise?

NASS have a whole range of exercise resources for you and we’ve been working with physiotherapists, yoga teachers and Pilates teachers to put together some short stretch sessions you can use.

What research is being carried out into COVID19 and axial SpA (AS)?

In order to understand how COVID19 might impact on people living with rheumatological conditions like axial SpA (AS) a Global Rheumatology Alliance was established. Its aim is to increase our knowledge and understanding of how COVID19 both affects people with rheumatic conditions and if the medications people commonly take changes their risk. It is a database and clinicians from around the world are registering details of patients with rheumatic conditions who have contracted COVID19.

Research papers are already being produced based on the results. One paper based on over 600 patients from 40 different countries indicated only those taking more than 10mg of oral steroids were at greater risk of being hospitalised for COVID19. No other drugs increased the risk of hospitalisation and anti TNF appeared to decrease the risk.

Can I help by taking part in any research?

We’ve put together a list of studies taking part around the world and here in the UK looking at the impact of COVID19. You can find out more here.