At high risk for COVID-19? Create a plan

You are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19 if you are 50 or older OR if you have some high-risk conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Protect yourself by creating a plan to prepare for unexpected illnesses.

Use this guide to help you prepare for unexpected illnesses. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about the actions you need for your plan to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19.


  • Check the CDC link here to make sure your vaccines are up to dateand retain documentation of your COVID-19 vaccination status.
  • Update hygiene habits, such as washing your hands frequently.
  • Consider social distancing when in public places, especially if COVID-19 rates are high in your area. Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Wearing a protective mask (N95, KN95) in public can reduce your chances of contracting the virus.
  • Maintain a healthy routine, such as regular physical activity, eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, and getting other recommended vaccines.
  • Follow medical advice from your family doctor or healthcare provider to manage any chronic conditions.

Monitor your symptoms

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are at high risk for infection, follow these steps to manage your symptoms and work with your doctor.


  • Monitor your symptoms and get tested at a test-to-treat site or use a self-test at home (within 24 hours of symptoms appearing).
  • Contact a healthcare provider immediately to discuss your positive test results, a plan of care, and whether you qualify for treatment. Doctors are on call, so if you have a positive test on a weekend, don’t wait until Monday to call. Contact them immediately, as the date of the positive test is crucial in determining when and how to begin treatment.


  • If you suspect you have COVID-19 and are age 50 or older or have a high-risk medical condition, there are treatments available that may reduce your risk of developing serious illness.
  • If you are eligible for treatment, starting treatment within the first few days of symptoms will reduce the severity of the illness. There are two oral antiviral medications available for mild to moderate COVID-19. An intravenous medication is most often used in hospital settings.


  • If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home for at least 5 days from the onset of symptoms, with the first day of symptoms being day 0, and isolate yourself from other people in your household. You are most contagious during these first 5 days.
  • Wear a high-quality mask (N95, KN95) around others at home and in public until day 10 (or until you have two negative home tests, taken at least 48 hours apart).
  • Contact your doctor any time you have questions or concerns, if your symptoms worsen, or if you have other medical conditions that are not well controlled.
  • If you have symptoms that continue more than 4 weeks after infection, you may have “long COVID.” The symptoms of long COVID vary from person to person and can last for months or even years. Talk to your doctor if you think you might have long COVID to discuss ways to reduce your symptoms and feel better.

If you have any of these symptoms or any other symptoms that are serious or are concerned, you should call 911 or seek immediate medical attention:

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
  • New confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone.

How to talk to your doctor

Public health professionals value shared decision making to discuss patients’ needs and uncertainties. With shared decision making, you and your doctor discuss the best available evidence and your own preferences and values ​​when making a decision about your health.

your doctor can help answer your questions about COVID-19 or other medical concerns. Your doctor knows your medical history and can help you make good decisions about your health.

Online tools They can be useful sources of information, but they can be outdated and sometimes inaccurate. Use websites like the CDC, NIH, and for reliable information.

Make sure you have a accurate medication listincluding any over-the-counter medications or supplements you take, so you can present this list to your doctor when you are considering a new medication.

If you don’t understand, ask them to slow down and repeat the information to make sure you get the medical advice you need. Taking notes can also be helpful for retaining information.

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