AML World Awareness Day April 21, 2020

COVID-19 and AML

The following information was prepared in collaboration with the MDS Foundation.

Recommendations for Patients with AML 

Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who are not showing symptoms and are not on treatment should discuss alternatives to clinic visits with their healthcare provider. Many questions can be answered by phone or via a telemedicine visit.

Patients who are on active treatments or transfusions should continue to attend any scheduled appointments unless they are contacted by a member of their healthcare team and advised otherwise. It is a good idea for patients to contact the doctor prior to each scheduled appointment to see if the appointment is essential and to possibly conduct the visit by phone or telemedicine. Sometimes it may also be possible to have labs drawn locally or even at home to avoid travel. It is essential that patients with ANY symptoms of cough, fever, diarrhea, or chills, contact their doctor or nursing hotline for instructions prior to going into the clinic. This would ensure that they do not potentially expose other immunocompromised patients.

All patients should:

  • avoid travel if possible
  • minimize contact with crowds and try to stay 6 feet away from other individuals as much as possible
  • engage in vigorous hand washing
  • avoid contact with anyone having respiratory symptoms or with a history of recent travel to countries with widespread COVID-19 outbreaks

Patients with a fever and/or respiratory symptoms should call their healthcare provider (most cancer centers have hotlines and the numbers can be found on their websites) for instructions on how to proceed, BEFORE coming into the hematology clinics. If possible, wear a mask when attending hospitals or clinics. If you have a mask, it should cover both your nose and mouth.

General Recommendations

The following general recommendations were prepared by the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

  1. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  2. Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue and clean your hands. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow
  4. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (i.e. doorknobs, light switches, handles, toilets, faucets, laptops, keyboards, cell phones, tables/counters)
  5. Avoid shaking hands with others
  6. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and discourage people from visiting your home if they have any symptoms of illness.
  7. Avoid travel as much as possible
  8. Avoid crowds and large gatherings
  9. Avoid contact with high-touch surfaces in public places (i.e., elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, touchscreens). Flat surfaces are more likely to have viruses or bacteria

Contact your physician with any questions or specific concerns.

General Information

The coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, which may cause illness in animals or humans. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus, which originated the current pandemic. Other coronaviruses are those causing the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Symptoms of COVID-19 may resemble flu as both can cause fever and cough, body aches, and fatigue. The symptoms of COVID-19 usually appear between two and 14 days after being exposed to the virus and vary between mild or severe. Some people can develop breathing difficulties caused by the virus-associated pneumonia.

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets created when the infected person coughs and sneezes. These droplets can land on other people faces, or on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they inhale the droplets.  This is why it is important to stay more than 6 feet (2 meters) away from a person who is sick and wash your hands often and thoroughly.

Additional Information:

Bloodwise (guidance for patients with blood-cancer – United Kingdom)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Health System  (United Kingdom)   

The Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation (guidance for patients with bone marrow failure)

University of Miami Health System