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.
  • Opinions on the benefits of using a face mask a have progressed and the WHO now recommends their use. In the UK the law now requires their use ins many situations. HNChelp members are using masks even in out outdoor meetings.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.

IF YOU FEEL UNWELL – updated regularly

If you have the symptoms below

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
  • loss of the sense of smell and taste
    Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Follow the latest Government advice




  • 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