Coronavirus – Are you at higher risk?
April 7th, 2020
Who is classed as high risk in the UK?
COVID-19 can make anyone seriously ill, so people must take all advice to stay safe and well.
However, the people classed as the most at risk in the UK are:
- The over 70s
It does not matter how fit and healthy you are at 70 or over, the immune system weakens the older you get, so fighting infection can be harder to do so.
- Pregnant women/expectant Mums
Looking at statistics across the world, there is no evidence to state that pregnant women and their babies will get severely unwell from COVID-19. It is expected they would get mild to moderate flu like symptoms. If you have an underlying health condition such as Asthma or diabetes you may be more unwell if you contract the virus.
Because this is a relatively new virus which we are still learning about, pregnant women are put into then vulnerable category and should follow social distancing advice.
- People with an underlying health condition. This includes people suffering with conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- BMI over 40
Is it true that anyone who is offered the annual flu jab should view themselves as high risk?
Everyone should take the risk of COVID-19 seriously and follow measures as to date, people not in the at risk categories or with underlying health conditions have contracted the virus.
The flu jab is usually offered to those noted up above, so yes, most of those who are offered the jab, would probably be classed as high risk (may be some exceptions). Most people at very high risk will have been contacted by the government.
Why are those with diabetes high risk? How might their condition influence the way the virus affects them?
The immune system plays a huge part in those with diabetes who develop severe coronavirus symptoms.
High levels of blood sugar over a long period of time can actually depress your immune system, so it doesn’t respond as quickly to the virus when it enters the body and it has more time to replicate, get down to your lungs, and cause the problems associated with breathing that can lead to needing hospital treatment.
Are pregnant women in the high-risk category simply because not enough research has been done to show how it affects unborn babies/newborns?
Most of this has been answered above, but research is still very limited and we are learning more every day. There have been a small number of babies across the world born with Coronavirus but we are still unsure whether they had the virus before or after birth. In China a few babies were born prematurely but it is unclear whether the virus caused early labour or not.
The UK is conducting real-time-observation of all pregnant women who develop COVID-19 during pregnancy and their unborn babies.
There is no evidence to show any increased risk of miscarriage.
According to the Center for Disease Control those with a BMI of 40+ are high risk: why is this?
Covid-19 has been linked to respiratory issues, so if a person is carrying excess weight it can cause pressure upon the body – especially the chest and lungs and cause issues with breathing.
Excess weight makes it more difficult for the lungs and diaphragm to expand and inhale oxygen. Once starved of Oxygen organs will start to fail.
Those with a BMI over 40 should take extra care and follow all medical advice.
See more information and advice for people who are at higher risk: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/