Who Has The Highest Risk Of Catching Coronavirus? How Can You Protect Yourself?
COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:
- People aged 65 years and older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- People who are pregnant should also be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness; however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk
- People with underlying health conditions such chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised
- Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
- People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
- People with diabetes
- People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- People with liver disease
How To Protect Yourself and Others From Coronavirus:
Follow these steps to help keep you and others safe:
- Stay home if you can and avoid any non-essential travel. Avoid social gatherings and self-quarantine as much as possible.
- Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet — about two arm lengths — away from others if you must go out in public. Stay connected with loved ones through video and phone calls, texts and social media. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect household surfaces daily and high-touch surfaces frequently throughout the day. High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Follow CDC guidance.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth, and throw used tissues in a lined trash can. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow — not your hands. Wash your hands immediately.
Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.
Is there a treatment?
As of now, there is not a specific treatment for the virus. People who become sick from COVID-19 should be treated with supportive measures: those that relieve symptoms. For severe cases, there may be additional options for treatment, including research drugs and therapeutics.
For live updates, please reference these sources:
Sources: Centers For Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Johns Hopkins Medicine, Merck Manual, CNN, New York Times, ABC7, American Red Cross