Ep -- 098 COVID-19 and Stroke

This situation the world is facing with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is unlike anything we’ve seen for a 100 years. In just a few months, it has put the entire world economy on pause as hundreds of thousands of people test positive for this deadly disease.

What does this mean for stroke survivors? Are we at higher risk?

Neuro-Physiatrist Dr. Kim Middleton joins us to answer that question and more in this episode of Strokecast.


Dr. Kimberly Middleton completed medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine before doing her residency at the University of Washington.

She is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR).

Dr. Middleton was one of the doctors who cared for me during the month I lived at the hospital following my stroke. I continue to see her on a regular basis for my Botox/Dysport injections to treat my tone and spasticity.

You can learn more about Dr. Middleton’s background here: https://www.swedish.org/swedish-physicians/profile.aspx?name=kimberley+w+middleton&id=160439

10 Tips to Protect Yourself From COVID-19

  1. Wash your hands again. Yes, again.
  2. Don’t touch your face.
  3. Continue taking your meds.
  4. Practice physical social distancing, but continue to connect online.
  5. Disinfect your home and deliveries you receive. Cleaning is good home OT.
  6. Eat healthful meals to keep your nutrition up.
  7. Consider taking supplements like vitamin C.
  8. Keep your body strong with exercise.
  9. Prioritize sleep.
  10. Go deep into that home exercise program your PT or OT  gave you.

Handwashing One Handed

Washing our hands is the cheapest and probably most effective way to minimize the chances of catching COVID-19 and hundreds of other conditions. But how do you do it effectively when hemiparesis leaves you with one functional hand?

One way is to use your unaffected hand to wash your affected one. Sure, that one’s probably not as dirty since it’s mainly been hanging around as just a fist, but the act of washing it will wash and scrub the washer. Plus it’s a great opportunity to get some more finger stretches in.

Here are some examples of other techniques.


Dr. Kimberly Middleton at Swedish https://www.swedish.org/swedish-physicians/profile.aspx?name=kimberley+w+middleton&id=160439
COVID-19 Info from Swedish Medical Center https://www.swedish.org/patient-visitor-info/coronavirus-advisory
WHO on the COVID-19 Pandemic https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
NIH on the COVID-19 Pandemic https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus
CDC on the COVID-19 Pandemic https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Stroke.org home exercises https://www.stroke.org/en/help-and-support/resource-library/post-stroke-exercise-videos
COVID-19 on the AHA https://www.stroke.org/en/about-us/coronavirus-covid-19-resources
Stroke.Org Interview with Dr. Eduardo Sanchez https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW7zNAz9gA0&feature=emb_logo
Home Exercise from Disability Horizons https://disabilityhorizons.com/2016/10/top-10-exercises-disabled-people/
Home Exercises from silver Sneakers https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/total-body-chair-workout-for-older-adults/
Sitting Exercises from Britain’s NHS https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/sitting-exercises/

Where do we go from here?

  • Share this episode with others or post about it to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram with the link http://Strokecast.com/covid-19
  • Check out the links above to keep your exercise going.
  • Stay safe.
  • Don’t get best…get better

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast