In the early days of the pandemic, very little was known about the novel coronavirus since doctors had not encountered it before. Now that medical researchers have had time to study the impact of the virus on patients around the world, we are gaining a better understanding of how it behaves and affects different populations.
A growing body of research shows that having certain underlying health conditions raises the risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. According to one study, some conditions may double or even triple the risk of death for COVID-19 patients. Understanding who is at an increased risk of serious complications helps doctors provide appropriate care and should give people with these conditions the incentive to take precautions to avoid infection as much as possible.
Read on for a list of conditions associated with COVID-19 complications and things you can do to stay healthier during the pandemic.
Conditions that Raise the Risk of Severe Illness from COVID
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you have a higher risk of severe illness or death due to COVID-19 if you have one of these conditions:
As more data become available, the list above is likely to change. According to the CDC, you might also have a higher risk of severe illness or death due to COVID-19 if you have one of these conditions (but more research is needed to know for sure):
While the virus has hit adults much harder than children, some children become severely ill from the novel coronavirus. It’s still unclear what puts children at higher risk for the rare complication known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). According to the CDC, these conditions might put children at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
How to Protect Yourself from Infection
While everyone should take precautions against COVID-19, it’s especially important for people with underlying conditions to avoid infection. If you have one or more of the conditions listed above, talk with your doctor about how you can safely manage your health during the pandemic. This might mean having your medications mailed to you, attending virtual medical appointments and avoiding going out in public or having family gatherings. You might also ask about how to keep up with routine screenings and what you should do if you’re not feeling well.
In general, it’s a good idea to:
Tending to your health and following COVID-19 prevention strategies (staying home as much as possible, frequently washing your hands, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds and keeping at least six feet away from others) helps lower your risk of getting COVID-19, whether or not you have underlying conditions that put you at a greater risk of serious complications from the virus.
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