Vulnerable people

Who is at higher risk to COVID-19?

At risk people include:

  • Those over 70: Older people often have underlying health issues, including respiratory issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

  • People with medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions can make you more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, people with respiratory conditions, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes.

  • People undergoing a treatment for cancer and blood conditions: As treatments for cancer and blood conditions affect people’s immune systems, this makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

  • Pregnant women: Health experts do not yet know if pregnant women are impacted by COVID-19 in the same way as other people. However, pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk from some infections. 

  • People without easy access to healthcare

For some of New Zealand’s communities, other aspects of their lives may mean they are also at risk. This includes:

  • Residents of aged care facilities: Aged care facilities are susceptible to rapid transmission of viruses like this. Residents are more susceptible to illnesses due to their age and they are also more likely to have underlying health conditions.

Actions you can take to protect yourself

You need to take more precautions to protect yourself against all infections, including COVID-19.

Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing.
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and dry them thoroughly:
    • before eating or handling food
    • after using the toilet
    • after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses
    • after caring for sick people.

Additional measures that you and your whānau and friends can take include:

  • Stay at home, and ask others to pick up supplies for you. You just need to ask them to leave these at the door, rather than come in. Drop offs at the door (rather than coming in) will protect vulnerable people from exposure to COVID-19.
  • Stay at least two metres away from people who are unwell.
  • If you're unwell, avoid contact with someone who is immune-compromised.
  • If your health care provider advises you to wear a mask when in public areas because you have a particularly vulnerable immune system, follow that advice.
  • If you are taking immunosuppressive drugs we advise that you do not stop this medication without first consulting your GP or specialist.

Other resources

 

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