COVID-19 And Chronic Medical Conditions
Authored by Dr Subramanain Swaminathan – Senior Consultant – Infectious Disease, Gleneagles Global Health City
COVID-19 has brought the world down to its knees. It is a pandemic that has affected many countries. Every single individual is at risk of getting infected if exposed to the virus, but there’s a certain population that is more vulnerable to the I'll effects of the Coronavirus - it’s the older generation. That is because after a certain age our immune system starts getting weak and most of the elder people are already suffering from some chronic diseases.
That being said, if you are a young individual with weak immunity or a chronic disease, the chances of you being affected after exposure to the virus, are high too. Now, let us understand what is this chronic medical condition or chronic disease? It is any disease that lasts for a longer period of time, more than three months to be precise. Common chronic diseases include arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, etc.
It becomes very important to take more care of people with such conditions. If you have any elder member in your family or anyone whose immune system is weak, or you are someone who falls under this category, then you need to be more careful and vigilant. The most important thing for you to do is to practice social isolation and stay away from the sick.
Regular Medication and Checkups
The primary need is to keep your chronic condition under control. Do not stop taking your medication without discussing it with your doctor. If you're not so sure about visiting the hospital/clinic for a regular checkup, ask your doctor if it can be rescheduled. If the visit is only for discussing something, try doing it over a call or virtually if possible.
Exposed to the Virus
If you have been exposed to someone who might have COVID-19, then the first thing you must do is isolate yourself in your house. Stay in a separate room if possible, or at least make sure you maintain a safe distance- which is 1 meter or 3 feet- from everyone. If you start showing any symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, severe headache, cough, etc. seek medical assistance.
Dealing with Stress and Anxiety
It is normal to feel uneasy at such uncertain times, but you cannot afford to be extremely anxious. The authorities are working hard to get a permanent solution. Try and avoid all the news, as the information can be overwhelming. Do not believe everything that is being said, especially on social media. Tally your information with credible sources for accurate information. Divert yourself. Talk to your family, check on your friends over phone calls. Do relaxing activities such as yoga, meditation, exercise, etc. Listen to soothing music and try not to constantly think about it.