Sarah Hyland has urgently spoken out about the importance of self-quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic after her two kidney transplants. Dr. Tania Dempsey MD agrees.
Actress Sarah Hyland has always been forthcoming about her multiple kidney transplant surgeries, being immunocompromised, and the medication she has to take in order to make sure her body does not reject her kidney from her second transplant in 2017. But during the coronavirus pandemic, the Modern Family actress is taking every precaution that she can to ensure that she stays healthy. “I am obviously immunocompromised with my transplant history and am on immunosuppressants, so everything in this house is sanitized. I just took a shot of hand sanitizer, so we’re good,” Sarah shared during her March 18 appearance on the Brad Behavior with Brad Goreski podcast.
Prior to when the strict restrictions on limiting social interaction began, Sarah had “talked to [her] nurse at the transplant clinic” and learned that “the risk is very high for…people over the age of 60, infants, and immunocompromised people,” like herself. The actress, who is engaged to Bachelor franchise alum Wells Adams, also shared that, due to the unsettled conditions of the world, she isn’t sure when she’s going to get married. “I may never get married,” she quipped. On a more serious note, however, Sarah confessed that she’s “terrified” by the current state of the world.
In terms of her “game plan” to ensure her health and safety, Sarah revealed to the podcast host, “You know what I’m doing, I’m washing my hands constantly. My game plan right now is to stay home.” Indeed, staying home and quarantining is the best option for someone in Sarah’s condition, according to Dr. Tania Dempsey MD, in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife.
“I would say it’s critical for them to self-quarantine and stay at home to avoid people coming and going from their home,” Dr. Dempsey advised people with similar conditions to Sarah’s. The physician also reiterated that it’s vital for people with a history of transplants to discourage people delivering items directly into their home, saying, “You don’t know who is exposed and carrying it.” Furthermore, Dr. Dempsey stressed that “the other problem with this virus is that it has a very long incubation period. It could be 14 or more days and so people may not show symptoms for a long time and think they’re fine when they’re fully not and simmering the infection inside.”
Because it’s so “very difficult to know” how the coronavirus infects people and manifests, Dr. Dempsey shared that it’s hard to accurately track how it would affect people with autoimmune deficiencies. “In some patients, their immune system may be overreactive and so we can look at it and say they could possibly be more at risk. On the flip side, some of them are on medications that suppress the immune system,” Dr. Dempsey explained. “And so at some point we were thinking that that might be helpful because we’re using certain medications that are being looked at for this virus, are sort of suppressing the immune response, but at the same time suppressing their immune system might put them at greater risk as well.”
At the risk of sounding too “confusing,” Dr. Dempsey surmised, “It’s very unclear whether people with these different conditions are more at risk. And I would say, just my professional opinion, that they probably are more at risk if they had medical conditions that they’re being followed for. It’s just not clear which ones are the ones that are going to put them at the top.”
Dr. Dempsey’s imparting advice: “I think that everyone, whether they have an autoimmune condition or they’ve had [chronic] Lyme disease or they’ve had anything, I think that you have to act as if you do have a condition that makes you more at risk because the reality is we don’t know for sure. Better to act safe and protect yourself the best you can.”
As for Sarah, her final advice is about the importance of washing hands. “It’s kind of crazy to me how it takes such a historic event of a state of emergency to make people aware that they have to wash their hands.” Beyond maintaining standard hygiene practices, Sarah stressed that this is an “important time to practice compassion, love, and generosity.”