Erin Anderson and her family have not been taking any chances during the pandemic.
"We're taking a lot of precautions. We're getting groceries delivered. We're not socializing with many families," Anderson said.
They're taking all these precautions in big part because of Anderson's health. "I do have autoimmune hepatitis and I'm pregnant with our third child," Anderson said.
Being pregnant and having autoimmune hepatitis means Anderson is doing her best to avoid getting sick. The CDC warns people in either categories could be worse off if they catch coronavirus. Along with taking extra precautions, Anderson and her husband stress the importance of hand washing and mask wearing to their boys. However, once they send the kids off to school, they know their risk of exposure goes up.
"There's a whole larger group of kids that they'll be exposed to and we really don't have any idea if families are taking the same precautions as we are which makes us nervous," Anderson said.
Anderson, who lives in Minneapolis, provides a space for those dealing with autoimmune hepatitis to connect with each other through the Autoimmune Hepatitis Association It's based in Indianapolis. Shared on Facebook, they've been hosting webinars since March, giving vital information to families navigating this pandemic with extra worries.
"It's been fantastic because when you have a rare disease, there's not a lot of information out there about your disease itself and then when you add the pandemic to the mix, there's next to nothing," Anderson said.
The webinars and Facebook page have allowed people from across the country to connect and not feel so alone during these difficult times, according to Anderson
While families like the Andersons are doing their part, they want others to step up as well and look out for those in their community."Whether you have a rare disease or not, it's important for all of us to do our part to stay healthy so we don't get sick and inadvertently infect other people."