Chronic Conditions and COVID-19: Taking Care of You

Chronic Conditions and COVID-19: Taking Care of You

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Diabetes, asthma, heart disease, cancer. These and other chronic conditions need your attention every day, even during limited daily activities due to COVID-19. And these conditions may mean you’re at higher risk of getting very ill if you catch the virus.

The elderly and nursing home residents aren’t the only ones at higher risk of getting very ill from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People of all ages with certain underlying illnesses   such as heart disease and chronic health issues like asthma and diabetes are also at higher risk.

Data collected by the CDC shows that almost 90 percent of those hospitalized for COVID-19 had an underlying health issue.

The CDC says you are at higher risk of getting very sick   from COVID-19 if you suffer from:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Conditions that make it hard for your immune system to fight illness, such as cancer, organ transplant, HIV or AIDS
  • Severe obesity
  • Chronic kidney disease on dialysis
  • Liver disease
  • Blood disorders such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia.
If You Are High Risk

If you are over age 65 or have a serious illness or chronic health problem, it is vital that you follow the guidelines for staying safe:

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Wear a face covering when outside the home.
  • When you must go out, keep 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Wash your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol when you can’t wash your hands.
  • Countertops, doorknobs and other surface areas that are used often should be sanitized daily.
  • Isolate yourself from others in your household and your pets if you are exposed to COVID-19 or start showing symptoms.
  • Seek prompt medical care if you feel unwell and/or suspect that you may have COVID-19
5 Steps for Staying Safe
  1. Plan ahead. Have enough groceries and supplies on hand to last if you can’t leave home for a few weeks. Get your medicine refilled so you don’t run out. If you live alone, ask a friend, neighbor or family member to check on you often.
  2. Take your medicine. If you take a prescription drug, don’t stop taking it without talking to your doctor first.
  3. Follow doctor’s orders. If you are under a doctor’s care for your condition, you may already know what you should do to manage your health. So be sure to keep doing it or reach out if you are not sure.
  4. Keep your appointments. Call ahead to make sure you are still going to have your scheduled doctor’s visit. In some cases, your visit may be switched to a phone or video visit.
  5. Put together a care plan. Call your doctor if you have questions about what you should do if you start to have symptoms. Your doctor can discuss your concerns and help you put a care plan   together that you can share with family and caregivers.
Sources: Coronavirus Death Rate is Higher for Those with Chronic Ills,   AP News, 2020; Hospitalization Rates and Characteristics of Patients Hospitalized with Laboratory-Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019,   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2020; FAQs: What You Should Know About COVID-19 and Chronic Medical Conditions,   Cleveland Clinic, 2020; Develop a Care Plan,   CDC, 2020
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