Laryngectomees and Coronavirus


NALC has sought assistance from its medical advisors to produce advice for our community in the difficult situation facing us, with a possible coronavirus epidemic.


We want to highlight two essential ways the risk of contracting the virus can be reduced. Laryngectomees differ from others with the only route into the lungs being through the stoma.

  • Laryngectomees should make use of a heat and moisture exchanger (HME) to cover the stoma. There is a variety available, including some with sophisticated filtration properties, such as the Provox Micron.
  • The advice from Public Health England (PHE) about hand washing should be followed carefully (see below). Occluding the stoma to allow for valve speech usually involves use of the hands and there may also be a need during the day to use the hands to remove the HME to clear mucous from the stoma.


  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth or stoma area as much as possible. It may take practice, touching the face is often done inadvertently.
  • Wash your hands regularly through the day with soap and water for around 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Stop shaking hands or kissing as a greeting. It is also thought keeping a distance of around 2 metres from others reduces the chance of infection.
  • The benefits of using a face mask are not clear, except that if an infected person wears one the risks of spreading the infection are reduced.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.

IF YOU FEEL UNWELL – updated regularly

If you live alone stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
    Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
    (Please see post on March 30 with ENT-UK about other symptoms)

If one person in a household displays symptoms the others also need to isolate but for 14 days, to allow time for symptoms to show.

  CONTACT NHS 111 online if

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days      111 Online

Telephone call 111 if you cannot get help online.


  • If you take regular prescription medication ensure you have a good supply.
  • It has been recommended that some people isolate themselves, for example if they have been in contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus. To do this a two week supply of food would be needed, but no more than this.

The American physician, and laryngectomee, Dr Itzhak Brook has written about coronavirus on his blog