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Kidney Disease & COVID-19 – Should You Be Concerned?

Kidney Disease & COVID-19

What is Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease describes a variety of conditions and disorders that affect the kidneys. Kidney disease can range from mild to severe and can result in kidney failure. Most kidney disease attacks the filtering abilities of the kidneys and means they are unable to filter blood in the way they should.

COVID-19 & Kidney Disease Risks

Having kidney disease (at any stage) can increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People with chronic kidney disease have compromised immune systems, which makes it harder to fight infections. This means these individuals may be at a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

Those receiving dialysis can also have a weaker immune system, making it harder to fight off infections. Those who have undergone a kidney transplant may be on anti-rejection medications that also make the immune system less active. It is absolutely crucial that individuals receiving dialysis or on anti-rejection medications post-transplant continue their treatments as scheduled/prescribed by their healthcare team. 

Reducing Risk

To reduce the risk of infection, follow public health guidelines and the recommendations of your health care team carefully. This includes washing hands often (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds) and maintaining a physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from those outside of your household (or pandemic bubble).

Continue to take medication and/or follow the therapeutic diet prescribed by your health care team. Additionally, make sure to always have a 30-day supply of medications on hand (i.e. in the event you need to self-isolate due to illness). If relevant, keep at least a 2-week stock of shelf-stable foods needed to follow your diet as prescribed. Stay in touch with your health care team; if you are on dialysis it is crucial that you do not miss any appointments.  

Special Precautions

Older adults and people with kidney disease or other severe chronic medical conditions seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:

  • Stock up on supplies (avoiding unnecessary hoarding or stockpiling)
  • 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
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible
  • During an outbreak in your area, stay home as much as possible.

Main Point

Those with underlying chronic health conditions, such as kidney disease, are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Follow public health guidelines carefully, and ensure other individuals in your household (or pandemic bubble) do so as well. Do not hesitate to seek appropriate medical attention, as needed.



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