People at increased risk include:
Pregnant people are also at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.
In addition to those at increased risk, there are certain groups of people who require extra precautions during the pandemic.
Adults with disabilities are more likely to have an underlying medical condition that may put them at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 including, but not limited to, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. In addition, having a disability may make it harder to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and practice hand hygiene.
If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:
- Stock up on supplies
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick
- Limit close contact and wash your hands often
- Avoid crowds, cruise travel, and non-essential travel
If there is an outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible. Watch for symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay home and call your doctor. More information on how to prepare, what to do if you get sick, and how communities and caregivers can support those at higher risk is available on People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19.
People of any age who have certain underlying medical conditions might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. In addition to following the recommendations to prevent getting sick, families can take steps recommended for children with underlying conditions.
Consider identifying potential alternative caregivers, in case you or other regular caregivers become sick and are unable to care for your child. If possible, these alternative caregivers should not be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 themselves. For more information, see Sick Parents and Caregivers. Make sure these caregivers take extra precautions if your child has a disability.
If your child receives any support care services in the home, such as services from personal care attendants, direct support professionals, or therapists, make plans for what you will do if your child’s direct care providers or anyone in your family gets sick. You can review CDC’s recommendations for Direct Service Providers.
There is not enough scientific information at this time to know whether having seasonal allergies puts you at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 or having more severe symptoms if you do contract COVID-19. We do know that older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, or heart or lung disease are at higher risk for developing more serious complications when they have COVID-19. Get more information on people at high risk for severe COVID-19.
Smoking cigarettes can leave you more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19. For example, smoking is known to cause lung disease and people with underlying lung problems may have increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19, a disease that primarily attacks the lungs.
Smoking cigarettes can also cause inflammation and cell damage throughout the body, and can weaken your immune system, making it less able to fight off disease.
There’s never been a better time to quit smoking. If you need resources to help you quit smoking, the FDA’s Every Try Counts campaign has supportive tips and tools to help you get closer to quitting for good.
E-cigarette use can expose your lungs to toxic chemicals, but whether those exposures increase the risk of COVID-19 or the severity of COVID-19 outcomes is not known. It is known that cigarette smoking increases the risk of respiratory infections, including pneumonia. Since many e-cigarette users are current or former smokers, you may be susceptible to a more severe course of COVID-19 if you are infected.