If you are living witha chronic condition, you already know how important it is to follow your doctor’s advice and take care of yourself. But managing your condition during this pandemic is more important than ever, especially if you have a condition that could raise your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Keeping your condition well-managed and avoiding trips to the hospital or emergency room can help reduce the chance of exposure to the coronavirus.
Which conditions are most concerning?
While all chronic conditions require ongoing collaboration between you and your health care team, doctors currently believe the following conditions increasethe risk of severe illness from COVID-19:
- Asthma and other lung diseases
- Heart disease
- Conditions that lead to a weakened immune system, including treatment for cancer
- Chronic kidney disease
Adults older than 65 are also at higher risk, and are more likely to have one or more chronic conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.
What to do to stay well
Here’s what to do to stay on top of your chronic condition during the pandemic:
- Stay aware of your health. Keep track of how you feel, and your symptoms. If you experience fever or shortness of breath, call your doctor right away.
- See your doctor virtually. Staying away from doctor’s offices, hospitals and emergency rooms is safest right now, but that doesn’t mean you need to skip appointments or avoid medical care altogether. If you need to see a doctor, try an online visit.
- Keep taking prescribed medications.Now is not the time to skip your medication or make major changes. Talk to your doctor, insurance provider and pharmacist about having an emergency supply of medication so you don’t have to keep going to the pharmacy if you are concerned about the risk of exposure.
- Find ways to stay active and reduce stress. While parks and gathering places are closed, there are still ways to exercise, like using a free home workout app or YouTube videos.You can climb stairs in your home, put on some music and dance in your living room, or do calisthenics in your backyard.
The most important things you can do during this pandemic are to stay home as much as possible, wash yourhands and avoid touching yourmouth, nose and eyes. If you smoke or use tobacco, consider quitting. And stay healthy by working closely with your doctor and paying attention to your symptoms.