What do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know?

People who are 65 or older are more likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. This may be because immune systems change with age, making it harder to fight off diseases and infection. Older adults also are more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness.

In addition, people of any age who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility are at higher risk. 

Other people who may be at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, regardless of age or disability, include:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate-to-severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40)
  • People with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk
  • 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 including people receiving cancer treatment

Reducing exposure is especially important for people at higher risk of complications!Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick

Words to the wise: Planning is key!

Many states and communities are implementing community actions designed to reduce exposures to COVID-19 and slow the spread of the disease. Creating a household plan can help protect your health and the health of those you care about. You should base the details of your household plan on the needs and daily routine of your household members. CDC’s planning resources can help.

Everyday actions to prevent illness

You can learn more about how the virus spreads here. Everyone, regardless of age or disability, should follow CDC’s recommendations to help prevent the spread of all respiratory diseases, including colds and flu and COVID-19. Things you can do every dayPresident’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread

Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs

  • COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. These include:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
    • This list is not all inclusive. Consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.

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