Coronavirus and chronic diseases: what about those who are at risk

The coronavirus can infect anyone, but I think that older people and patients with chronic diseases have a higher risk of severe disease. About it writes BBC.

Коронавирус и хронические заболевания: что делать тем, кто в группе риска

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If you suffer from a chronic illness, maybe now you feel anxiety. Here’s what the experts advise.

Who is at risk?

If you are chronically sick, the chance of catching the coronavirus you are the same as other people.

But among people of older age or with a weakened immune system, or with existing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes or asthma, a greater percentage of suffering from serious symptoms if infected.

Most patients recover quickly with the coronavirus after a few days of rest. But in some the disease is more severe and life threatening. Its symptoms are similar to other familiar diseases, such as colds or the flu:

  • cough;
  • high temperature;
  • shortness of breath.

The risk group includes people aged from 70 years, regardless of whether they have a chronic disease and young people with one or more of the following health problems:

  • chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, or bronchitis;
  • chronic heart disease, for example, heart failure;
  • chronic kidney disease;
  • chronic liver disease, e.g. hepatitis;
  • chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, learning disabled or cerebral palsy;
  • diabetes;
  • problems with the spleen, for example sickle cell anemia, or removal of the spleen in history;
  • immune system is weakened by illness (e.g. HIV or AIDS),drug therapy (e.g. steroids) or chemotherapy;
  • significant overweight (BMI 40 and above);
  • pregnancy.

All people is advised to isolate himself and keep his distance, to reduce the chance of infection and spread of the coronavirus. People risk it is imperative to adhere to these tips.

Since the beginning of April, the British national health service asks about 1.5 million Britons with high risk of complications — for example, those who are recovering from cancer or undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, — for 12 weeks to isolate themselves at home for their own protection. These people receive special recommendations from physicians.

Those included in the above categories, but have not received a letter from the National health service, are asked to immediately contact their family doctor.

I have asthma, what to do?

Specialists Asthma UK suggest to continue to use a preventative inhaler as directed by your doctor. This will reduce the risk of a sudden asthma attack if the Airways get any respiratory virus, including coronavirus.

Also always carry another inhaler to relieve symptoms if they occur.

Daily measure and record in the diary, your peak expiratory flow if there is a special measuring device (peak flow meter). So you will know, if not worsen asthma symptoms, and can distinguish them from the symptoms of coronavirus.

I am an old man. Do I have to isolate themselves?

According to the latest recommendations, everyone — regardless of age — should refrain from any social contact, except for the inevitable to stop the spread of the virus and to protect the most vulnerable members of society. Accordingly, it is avoided even with family and friends, and of crowded places.

This is especially important for people older than 70 years and those with chronic diseases; indeed, in the case of infection they face severe course of the disease.

Caroline Abrahams, Director of charity Age UK, recommends that those who have elderly relatives and friends regularly to know about their Affairs.

Suddenly I have chronic health problems?

Anyone dangerous viral diseases such as acute respiratory infections or the flu, must do everything necessary to minimise the risk of infection.

When new symptoms — severe coughing and high temperature — should stay home. If after seven days the symptoms worsen or at least not decrease, call your family doctor or the hotline on issues of coronavirus.

I have diabetes, what should I do?

Patients with type 1 and type 2, also have a risk of severe coronavirus infection.

“Covid-19 can lead to complications in patients with diabetes, says Dan Howarth, the Chairman of the medical care program of the charity organization Diabetes UK. If the background of diabetes you have new symptoms, such as cough, fever and breathing difficulties, you should especially watch out the sugar level in the blood.”

When you see these symptoms you need a week to stay at home, continuing to take your medicines. Do not go to a polyclinic, pharmacy or hospital, even if the visit was pre-scheduled. Call the hotline if they feel that they cannot cope with the symptoms of your condition in seven days has worsened or at least not improved.

If you regularly measures the level of glucose in blood according to my doctor — do it more often. If you don’t do this at home, watch for signs of hyperglycemia such as excessive thirst, copious urination (especially at night), headache, fatigue and lethargy. Call your doctor if you experience something similar.

If, in the absence of symptoms in the early stages, you need a scheduled consultation on issues of diabetes, look for an opportunity to get her on the phone or online, avoiding a personal visit.

Should I be concerned for pregnant women?

While there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women (and their children) are at risk, but doctors still advise mothers especially to be careful. Like other people, they should do everything possible to avoid infection. They should also “particularly strict” to refrain from social contacts, according to the official recommendations.

Pregnant women working in the health sector suggest the following:

If your gestational age — less than 28 weeks and you don’t have chronic diseases, should maintain social distance, but you can continue to work. If possible, care for patients with suspected coronavirus. Carefully weigh the risks and use protective equipment.

If your pregnancy more than 28 weeks, or whatever period you have a chronic disease (e.g. heart disease, lung, etc.), avoid direct contact with patients.

I smoke, or I belong to the risk group?

Deborah Arnott, Chairman of the health charity organization Ash, advises those who smokes a lot, to get rid of this habit or at least reduce the consumption of tobacco products. It will reduce the risk of severe coronavirus.

“Smokers often catch respiratory infections and twice as likely than non-smokers, sick with pneumonia, — she explains. — From whatever side you look, Smoking is harmful to health; therefore, let the smokers will see in the fashion industry an additional reason to quit the habit and enhance the protection of the body at a time when the virus is actively spreading”.

What about the meds I take on a regular basis?

It is important that you take your usual medicines even if there are symptoms of respiratory infection. If at this time you have exhausted reserves and need to bring medications from the pharmacy, ask for it to be done by someone from relatives or friends.

Do I need to get a flu shot?

Coronavirus is a virus of influenza, so vaccination will not protect you from coronavirus infection. At the same time, the flu is also a serious disease that often causes complications.

If you are not vaccinated against the flu, find a way to do it now.

So how do I stay safe from the virus?

As far as we know, the virus spreads through coughing and contaminated surfaces such as handrails and door handles in public places.

The main way to stop the virus is hygiene:

  • Coughing or sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve (not your palm!).
  • Immediately throw away used disposable wipes in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water; if this is not possible, use a disinfecting spray.
  • Avoid contact with patients.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, if you do not believe in the purity of their hands.
  • Maintain the level of physical activity — exercise at home or in your own backyard, if you live in a private home.

It is necessary to use a mask?

Charitable organization for the care of patients with lung disease British Lung Foundation does not recommend wearing masks, “because they do not have proven effectiveness. Besides, in case of chronic lung disease mask makes it difficult for a person without heavy breathing”.

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