People at Higher Risk for Communicable Disease
Who is at higher risk?
- Older adults who are 65 years of age or older.
- Infants under 2 years of age.
- Those experiencing health and social inequities – including people identifying with certain racial and ethnic minority groups and people with disabilities.
- People with medical conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
- Dementia or other neurological conditions
- Diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2)
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension)
- HIV infection
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
- Liver disease
- Overweight and obesity
- Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
- Smoking, current or former
- Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
- Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
- Substance use disorders
What does it mean to get "severely ill?"
Someone who gets severely ill may need hospitalization or a ventilator to help them breathe. They may even die.
Actions you can take
If you, or someone you are close to, are at higher risk for getting severely ill from a communicable disease, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and loved ones.
- Get vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases, as long as it’s recommended by a doctor.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands (especially mouth, nose, and eyes).
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces regularly (like door knobs, countertops, and light switches).
- Contact a doctor if you get sick and are concerned about your symptoms. Do not delay getting emergency care for your medical condition.
- Continue your medicines and follow your current treatment plan to keep your medical condition under control.
- Have at least a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines, if possible, to reduce your trips to the pharmacy.
- Know the triggers for your condition and avoid them when possible.
- Learn about stress and coping.
- When possible, keep preventive care and other routine health care appointments with your provider.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): People with Certain Medical Conditions
- CDC: People at Higher Risk of Flu Complications