Nearly every person in the world is aware that coronavirus (COVID-19) is extremely contagious. And while many cases of COVID-19 prove to be mild, the potential to develop serious complications should always be considered—especially for those individuals with a comorbidity like chronic kidney disease. As you start to question the relationship between coronavirus and your comorbidity, it’s important to note that COVID-19 is still a relatively new disease—one that medical professionals around the world continue to monitor for answers.
One thing we do know, however, is that the potential for high-risk individuals to develop serious complications and exacerbated symptoms from COVID-19 is significantly higher than those of average health. So, when it comes to ensuring your safety during this pandemic as a high-risk individual, staying updated on current events and following the CDC’s protective guidelines are in your best interests. In this article, we’ll further explore the relationship between COVID-19 and chronic kidney disease—helping you better manage your comorbidity during the pandemic and find ways to continue to monitor your health as social distancing guidelines become less strict.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we’ll first answer this frequently asked question: Does chronic kidney disease put you at higher risk of contracting COVID-19? No; however, it does put you at greater risk of experiencing exacerbated symptoms, which could lead to serious, life-threatening complications. Understanding the dangers of contracting COVID-19 with a serious underlying health condition, like chronic kidney disease, starts with taking a closer look at how the comorbidity affects your body’s ability to fight off infections.
Chronic Kidney Disease (Chronic Kidney Failure)
Chronic kidney disease can affect almost every part of your body, as kidneys work to filter wastes and maintain a healthy balance of fluid, salts, and minerals—such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium—in your blood. Compromised kidneys prevent this systematic cleansing from occurring on a regular basis, allowing excess fluid, electrolytes, and wastes to gradually build up in your body. The loss of kidney function can lead to a number of complications that can ultimately diminish the response time of your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and limiting your ability to fight them off. This is particularly evident in those individuals who are already on kidney dialysis, as the treatment—while necessary—can further weaken the immune system.
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, a compromised immune system is not something to take lightly. Why? If contracted, what would be considered mild complications in a healthy individual could be cause for concern in someone with a comorbidity that prevents the body from fighting back. So, what should your plan of action be?
Precautions to Take if You Have Chronic Kidney Disease
The best way to protect yourself from developing complications from COVID-19 and chronic kidney disease is to avoid being exposed to the virus in the first place. Now, this may seem easier said than done, but there are many ways that you can implement protective strategies into your everyday routines. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has incredible up-to-date resources on prevention tips and strategies to help you not only protect yourself during the pandemic but also to help prevent the spread of it to others who are at risk of serious illness.
Those on Dialysis
For those with chronic kidney disease and on dialysis, here are the actions that you should be taking according to the CDC:
- Plan to have at least a 30-day supply of medications.
- Do not miss your dialysis treatments.
- Stock up on enough food to follow the KCER 3-Day Emergency Diet Plan (encouraged for dialysis patients) in case you are unable to maintain your normal treatment schedule.
- Contact your dialysis clinic/healthcare provider if you start to feel sick or have health concerns (related to COVID-19 or not).
Those Venturing Into Public
In addition to these conditional precautions, it’s strongly encouraged that you avoid venturing into public during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and is transmitted easily from person-to-person via respiratory droplets that are spread when an infected individual sneezes, coughs, or talks. If you have to enter a public setting for essentials or for dialysis treatment, here are the CDC’s protective guidelines you should follow:
- Maintain a six-foot distance from others in public settings
- Wear a cloth face covering
- Wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Disinfect surfaces of your home often
- Practice good food hygiene
Those Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms
At the end of the day, the best thing that you can do is monitor your health and seek treatment as soon as possible if you suspect you’ve come in contact with or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches/headache
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
How DispatchHealth Can Help
If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, DispatchHealth is prepared to offer you the prompt, at-home medical care that you need. As one of the most dependable house call services for acute medical conditions, like chronic kidney disease, our medical teams will arrive at your place of need within a few hours of contact—prepared with most of the equipment and technologies found at an ER. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we have gone the extra mile to ensure the safety of our staff and patients—implementing disinfecting protocols before, during, and after each visit and providing our medical staff with protective equipment. We are also able to test for COVID-19 as well as treat and support COVID-19 patients.
Reach out today to learn more about how DispatchHealth is responding to COVID-19. Requesting care is as easy as contacting us via phone, mobile app, or through our website.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
Sources referenced in this article: