Patients with underlying medical conditions such as a chronic illness or those who are elderly are considered to be most at-risk for novel coronavirus according to multiple health agencies and experts, but what can they do to minimize that risk?
Social distancing, hand-washing and avoiding those who are sick are among the top pieces of advice given to the general public, but for the immunocompromised, there are additional steps they can take. That includes wearing face masks, according to Dr. Jake Deutsch, co-founder and clinical director of Specialty Infusion and Cure Urgent Care.
“Although the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] does not recommend the general population use face masks, for those with compromised immune systems, there is reason to be extra cautious so I do recommend using them,” Deutsch told Fox News. “The immunocompromised population should also engage in social distancing measures and should minimize time in public places and with touching things that could be contaminated.”
Deutsch said keeping a healthy diet can also help boost the immune system.
“The importance of a balanced diet to prevent illness and boost the immune system is incredibly important,” he said, adding that the majority of our immune system is connected to the digestive tract.
While complications from COVID-19 are specific to the individual, they can include pneumonia and even respiratory failure. There’s also no way of predicting what the recovery process will look like for these patients. Early treatment and close monitoring will be vital in determining what the response looks like, Deutsch said.
“The biggest thing one can do right now is focus on staying as healthy as possible by sleeping well, eating well, and taking necessary precautions like washing hands frequently and thoroughly with water and soap,” Deutsch said, adding that maintaining a balanced diet can help boost the immune system.
Should you become sick, Deutsch said you need to contact your doctor immediately before heading to the office or emergency room.
“However during this time, if not extremely ill, it’s important to not flood emergency departments as immunocompromised patients can be at a higher risk of exposing themselves to more illnesses,” Deutsch said.
Keeping up to date with the latest information from the CDC and local health authorities can also help keep you healthy, Deutsch said.