Tips for those at high risk of complications

senior on the telephone
While all Canadians are at risk of contracting the disease, certain Canadians are at higher risk of experiencing serious complications due to their weakened immune systems. This includes older Canadians, those with medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and/or cancer as well as those with weakened immune systems from a medical condition or treatment, such as chemotherapy.

If you are at risk for complications, it is particularly important that you follow the directives from the public health authorities, such as avoiding non-essential gatherings and outings.

Here are some tips you can follow in addition to routine health precautions to help protect yourself from COVID-19.

You are part of the solution

The steps you are taking to protect your health may prevent you from supporting those around you and your community as you normally would during difficult times. You may not be able to babysit your grandchildren, visit friends, volunteer, or go to work. You may also find isolation frustrating or worry about what will happen next. That said, you should know that:
  • By following the distancing instructions, you are doing your part to ensure the protection of the public.
  • Experience is one of your strengths. You have probably had other difficult times. What you have done to get through those times may help you now.
  • By calling your friends and family, they can benefit from your experience and your support.
  • If you're not already familiar with using the internet and mobile applications to communicate with your loved ones, this is an opportunity to learn new things that will also help you after these events, such as instant messaging or video calling through platforms like Facetime, Skype or Whatsapp.
  • If you're visiting this site right now, you can probably also use other online services to adapt to the situation.
Stay home
  • Cancel non-essential travel and appointments.
  • If you have an appointment at the hospital or with a doctor, if possible, consider postponing the appointment. Talk to your doctor about potentially using remote medical services where possible.
  • If you need medical care, in agreement with your medical provider, make an appointment and to visit for the necessary care. If you have an emergency and need immediate medical attention, call the appropriate number in your area.
Practice physical distancing
Physical distancing helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is a set of measures intended to limit your interactions with others.
  • Keep a distance of at least 2 arm-lengths (approximately 2 metres, or 6 feet) from others, as much as possible.
  • Avoid getting together with friends or family.
  • Work from home.
  • Avoid using public transit, especially during peak hours.
  • Avoid shaking hands or kissing.
Stay in touch with your friends and family
  • Talk regularly to your friends and family by phone, over email or online. You can agree with them on a way to stay in touch and communicate regularly.
  • Don’t hesitate to let them know how you are feeling.
  • Your children, grandchildren, family and friends will also benefit from staying in touch with you.
Take care of your mental health
  • Open the windows in your home and let in some fresh air and sunshine.
  • Exercise regularly at home.
  • Try to eat healthy and balanced meals, drink enough water, and avoid smoking or drinking alcohol.
  • Go out for a walk while following physical distancing recommendations.
  • Do activities you enjoy: reading, cooking and other indoor hobbies, listening to the radio or watching TV.
  • Adopt a daily routine that you can maintain for the next few weeks (meal times, sleep, exercise, calls with your loved ones, etc.).
  • See other tips on how to take care of your mental health here.
Use online communication services and identify family members, friends, neighbours and caregivers who can support you
  • Family members, friends, neighbours and caregivers who come to your home to provide support must not:
    • have symptoms: no fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms;
    • have travelled in the last 14 days;
    • have been in contact with people who have symptoms or who have travelled in the last 14 days.
  • Many grocery stores and pharmacies offer the possibility to order online for home deliveries. If it is not possible for you to use this service, ask family members, friends, or neighbours to deliver groceries for you, purchase medication, etc.
  • Identify family members, friends or neighbours who can care for you if you get sick.
  • Identify family members, friends or neighbours who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.

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