Which Chronic Diseases Put You at Risk for COVID-19?

By now, you’ve probably heard how the elderly and certain people with underlying or chronic medical conditions are especially vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19). Generally, like someone receiving chemotherapy treatment, these individuals have weaker immune systems, which means they’re more likely to become seriously ill or die if they test positive for COVID-19.

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors describes COVID-19 as, “a new kind of illness caused by a virus. It spreads easily between people, and can cause fever, coughing, and trouble breathing.” As mentioned above, certain people are more vulnerable and as a result, are more prone to getting sick with COVID-19. So, which medical conditions make people more susceptible?

Do You Have a Chronic Health Condition?

If you have one or more of the following chronic conditions, you are advised to be extra careful about protecting your health while COVID-19 is a serious public health concern:

  • Asthma
  • Lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes that is unmanaged
  • Obesity (severe with a BMI of 40 or above)
  • A weak immune system due to cancer treatment or HIV

“What can I do to protect myself during this uncertain time?” If you have any one or more of the above chronic health conditions, the first thing you can do is focus on making healthier choices. Avoid drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, be physically active, get plenty of rest, and eat nutritious meals made of nuts, legumes, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and grilled or roasted meats. Avoid processed foods, fried foods, sugar, and white flour.

If you have a chronic disease, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors asks that you:

  • Take your regular medications as directed by your doctor and on time.
  • Ask about getting extra medications in case you can’t get to a pharmacy for some reason.
  • Ask your doctor if your insurance company has a telemedicine/telehealth option and if so, take advantage of it.

If you start to experience a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, you could be displaying the signs of COVID-19. Contact your healthcare provider and ask them what to do next, then follow their advice. If you have a job or go to school, you should not go. Tell them what’s going on and follow your healthcare provider’s directions.

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