16+High Risk Group & 12+ Prevention Measure | COVID-19
What You Need to Know About COVID-19 to Stay Safe in These Difficult Times
Learn More About Your Risk Whether You Have a Common Medical Condition or Are Considered Healthy
As the Coronavirus continues to sweep across the globe people everywhere are searching for ways they can avoid contracting it and getting sick.
Over the past year-plus that we have been dealing with COVID-19, we have learned a lot. Experts now understand that certain medical conditions can make it more likely that you are going to get severely sick if you get the COVID-19 virus.
By severely sick, we mean that you may need any or all of the following treatment:
- A Ventilator
- Intensive Care
If these treatments prove ineffective, you may even face death. The latest statistics indicate that there have been over 228 million Coronavirus cases and over 4.6 million deaths to this point.
Here is more of what we currently know about COVID-19:
The Elderly Are Most at Danger
When it comes to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the elderly population has been particularly hard hit.
There are a number of reasons why seniors are highly susceptible to the viral outbreak.
For one thing, they are more likely to have underlying health conditions. For another, aging immune systems are usually weaker than the immune systems of younger people.
Combined, these two things put the elderly at higher risk of contracting the novel Coronavirus, which is a respiratory illness that can cause pneumonia and symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath.
In fact, scientists report that the median age of the first 17 people to die from the outbreak, which originated in China, were an average age of 75.
Other Particularly At-Risk Populations Include:
People with disabilities or chronic medical conditions –
These people typically have conditions that make their immune systems weaker and, thus, make it more difficult for their bodies to fight off the virus. We will talk more about the different conditions that make people particularly susceptible to a severe COVID-19 infection in just a moment.
Racial and ethnic minorities –
These groups have also shown an increase in severe COVID-19 infection. Experts say that young people in these groups are more likely to develop chronic medical conditions compared to people their age who are not minorities and this is a reason why they may be more susceptible to severe COVID-19 reactions.
What Should You do if You Have a Medical Condition?
Experts say that you should speak to your doctor about the best ways to stay safe.
Health experts recommend that you do the following things to help avoid contracting Coronavirus:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Eat a healthy diet to keep your immune system strong
- Get an optimal amount of sleep – generally considered to be 7 to 8 hours
Now that vaccines are available you may also want to consider getting vaccinated. However, you should speak with your doctor before making any final decisions.
Now let’s take a closer look at several common medical conditions that may make people more likely to have a severe COVID-19 reaction. This list is constantly evolving as new information becomes available. Also, please remember this list is not definitive. In addition, there are many rare medical conditions not listed below that could put a person at greater risk for COVID-19.
Medical Conditions to be Concerned About During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The following conditions are listed in alphabetical order and NOT in order of seriousness.
Cancer can be an insidious disease that weakens a person’s body and immune system making them more susceptible to a virus like COVID-19. Current studies indicate that being diagnosed with cancer can increase your risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19. For more information visit:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other chronic lung conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary hypertension and more can put you at increased risk of a severe reaction to COVID-19.
In fact, COVID-19 often has a severe effect on the lungs causing victims to have difficulty breathing. An existing lung condition can exacerbate the situation and make a person’s COVID-19 illness even worse. For more information visit:
It has also been determined that dementia and additional neurological conditions can also increase your chances of developing severe COVID-19. For more information on dementia and other neurological conditions visit:
Diabetes is another medical condition that can weaken the immune system. That’s why if you have Type 1 or 2 Diabetes you could be at risk for severe COVID-19. For more information on diabetes visit:
Down Syndrome –
Down syndrome, which is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome, can also increase your risk of having severe COVID-19. For more information on Down syndrome, please visit:
If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition, including heart failure, hypertension, cardiomyopathy or coronary artery disease you may be at increased risk of a severe COVID-19 reaction. The heart is such an important organ for our health – pumping life giving blood that carries oxygen and nutrients for our well-being. Poor heart leads to pour physical health which makes it easier for COVID-19 to attack the body. For more information on heart health visit:
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which, by definition, is a disease that weakens the immune system and makes you more susceptible to foreign invaders can put you at risk of a severe COVID-19 reaction. For more information on HIV visit:
While there are many conditions that can produce an immunocompromised state, the bottom line is you need a healthy immune system to properly fight off the COVID-19 virus. If you are immunocompromised you are at much greater risk of experiencing a severe COVID-19 reaction. Main causes of someone being immunocompromised include: a genetic defect or excessive use of corticosteroids or other immune weakening medicines. For more information visit:
Kidney Disease –
Chronic kidney disease can put you at increased risk of a severe COVID-19 reaction. For more information on kidney disease please visit:
Liver Disease –
Liver Disease is another condition that can increase your risk of severe COVID-19. If you have been diagnosed with cirrhosis, liver scarring, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or alcohol-related liver disease – which are all common types of Liver Disease – you should take precautions against COVID-19. For additional information on Liver Disease visit:
If you are overweight or have been diagnosed as obese your risk of severe COVID-19 is increased. In fact, the more overweight you are the higher your risk of severe COVID-19. The scientific definition of obesity is BMI ≥30 kg/m2 but < 40 kg/m2. Severe obesity is BMI of ≥40 kg/m2. Overweight is considered BMI of >25 kg/m2 but <30 kg/m2. For more information visit:
If you are pregnant or have given birth less than 42 days ago you are at greater risk of severe COVID-19. Experts say that pregnant people are more likely than non-pregnant people to have a severe COVID-19 reaction – this can be due to a person’s body being taxed by the physical demands of carrying another person. For more information visit:
Sickle Cell Anemia –
Sickle Cell Anemia, or Sickle Cell Disease, is a condition where there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Because COVID-19 can affect breathing and Sickle Cell Disease affects oxygen going through the body the two conditions can form a powerful one-two punch that spurs a severe COVID-19 reaction. For more information visit:
You can now add another bad side effect of smoking to the already long list – a higher risk of severe COVID-19. Smoking weakens the immune system paving the way for a more intense COVID-19 infection. The good news is health benefits begin immediately once you quit smoking so there is no time like the present to quit and decrease your chances of severe COVID-19. For more information visit:
If you have recently undergone an organ or stem cell transplant, you are at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19. To learn more, visit:
If you have suffered a stroke you are at risk for experiencing more severe COVID-19. For more information, visit:
Substance Abuse –
If you are addicted to alcohol, opioids or another drug, like cocaine, heroin or something else, there is a high chance you have a weakened immune system and are more susceptible to severe COVID-19. For more information visit:
What About Children and Teens?
During the more recent third wave of the Coronavirus, children have been getting sick at a higher rate. Some are developing severe illness as well.
Experts say that children with underlying medical conditions, such as the ones listed above, are at increased risk of experiencing severe COVID-19. In particular, children with genetic, neurologic or metabolic conditions or who have heart conditions seem to be particularly at risk.
In addition, children who are obese or who have diabetes, chronic lung conditions or diabetes are at increased risk as well.
The Pfizer vaccine was just deemed safe for kids ages 5 to 11. Vaccines for both children and their parents can decrease the risk of severe COVID-19 infection.
For more information, please visit:
What Actions Can Be Taken to Increase Safety Against COVID-19?
As we mentioned earlier, In addition to vaccines, which are now available and being distributed, health experts recommend that you do the following things to lessen your chances of contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Stay home as much as you can
- Practice social distancing – maintain a safe distance from others (6 feet)
- Wash your hands frequently – wash for 20 seconds with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
- Stay home and self isolate from others in the household if you feel sick
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
You should also:
Keep taking your medication consistently –
If you are running low, call your provider for a refill or get a refill online so that you can keep taking your medication as you have been.
Don’t deviate from your current treatment plan –
That means stick to your schedule – for instance physical therapy or regular lab testing. Just be sure to take precautions, such as wearing a mask or meeting with therapists online.
Maintain a supply of medicine, food and other essential items –
To save yourself from having to go out, be sure to keep a supply of necessary medicine and other items and equipment. The last thing you want is to be caught short and then have that disrupt your treatment schedule. Now more than ever it is important to plan ahead. This goes for food and other essential items as well. For example, you could keep a supply of canned food on hand in case of shortages in your area.
Avoid triggers that aggravate your condition –
Now is the time to be extra cautious and extra aware. That means you need to understand your condition and what factors can make it worse. Then you need, if possible, to try to avoid those factors during this difficult time.
Control your stress –
Stress and anxiety are two things that are very popular right now but that can be very detrimental to your health so you need to avoid them if at all possible. To reduce your stress, try the following:
1. Don’t Watch Television to Go to Sleep
The best thing you can do when you’re stressed is to relax your mind. TV keeps you thinking and doesn’t allow your brain to relax.
2. Take Breaks Throughout the Day
Don’t work hard and heavy all day long. Take those breaks for coffee or to walk around a bit.
3. Try to Limit Changes in Your Life
Remember, rapid change causes you excess stress. Try to limit the amount of change in your life. Patterns are good and stress free.
Don’t overwork yourself if you don’t absolutely have to. For example, if you don’t have to stay late at work then don’t do it.
Try to eat as healthy as you can. If you can avoid eating fast food at lunch then don’t eat it
Exercise is one of the best ways to deal with stress. Many people resist exercise because they don’t feel like they have enough time, but if they tried it once they would be shocked at how much better it makes them feel.
By all means, get emergency care if you need it –
Don’t be afraid to go the emergency room to get the care you need! All hospitals have COVID-19 plans in place to limit your risk of catching the virus. You’ll be much better off getting the care you need instead of staying home and putting your well-being in jeopardy due to your condition. If you have any concerns about your condition or about going to the hospital or doctor, give your doctor a call to discuss the matter! Remember, it is important to continue with preventive care so that your condition doesn’t get out of hand and lead to worse medical issues.