Updated: Feb 20
Vaccination, a past infection, or timely access to testing and treatment can help protect you from getting very sick if you get COVID-19. However, some people are more likely than others to get very sick if they get COVID-19. This includes people who are older, are immunocompromised, have certain disabilities, or have underlying health conditions. Understanding your COVID-19 risk and the risks that might affect others can help you make decisions to protect yourself and others.
Factors That Affect Your Risk of Getting Very Sick from COVID-19
Older adults (especially those ages 50 years and older, with risk increasing with older age) are more likely than younger people to get very sick if they get COVID-19. This means they are more likely to need hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they could die. Most COVID-19 deaths occur in people older than 65.
Immunocompromised or a Weakened Immune System
Having a weakened immune system, also known as being immunocompromised, can make you more likely to get very sick if you get COVID-19. People who are immunocompromised, or who are taking medicines that weaken their immune system, may not be protected as well as others, even if they are up to date on their vaccines. For this reason, it is important to have a COVID-19 plan to protect yourself from infection and prepare for what to do if you get sick.
Underlying Health Conditions
Certain underlying health conditions you have (for example, obesity or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) may affect your risk of becoming very sick if you get COVID-19. Often, the more health conditions you have, the higher your risk. Certain conditions increase your risk more than others. For example, severe heart disease increases your risk more than high blood pressure.
Factors That Can Help Protect You from Getting Very Sick from COVID-19
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines is the best way to protect yourself and others around you from getting very sick, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19. Booster doses can give you additional protection. They can help enhance or restore protection that might have decreased over time.
People who are vaccinated with all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters, are far less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19 than people the same age who have not been vaccinated or who are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. However, even though vaccines reduce their risk, some people, particularly older adults with multiple underlying health conditions or people who are immunocompromised, can still get very sick from COVID-19.
If you are at increased risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, some medications are available that can reduce your chances of severe illness and death. Treatment needs to be started within a few days of infection to be effective. It can also help to have a plan for what to do if you feel sick or are diagnosed with COVID-19, especially if you have barriers to testing or treatment, such as transportation challenges or lack of insurance.
Having a previous infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 offers some protection from future illness. However, people who have had previous infections can still be reinfected and get severe COVID-19, especially if their previous infection was months ago or with a different variant (e.g., Delta variant). There are also risks to being repeatedly infected, including the potential of longer-term symptoms or the development of post-COVID conditions.
Studies show that people with previous infections who are vaccinated are less likely to be hospitalized than those with previous infections who are not vaccinated. This means that people who have had previous infections should still get vaccinated and boosted to increase their protection against COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19.
Several viruses are transmitted through direct contact with surfaces contaminated with body fluids or soiled hands of infected individuals. Contaminated surfaces act as fomites; this includes high-touch surfaces such as seat headrests, poles, armrests and push buttons on public transport vehicles.
Mask-wearing on public transport in Singapore ceased to be mandatory on Monday (Feb 13, 2023) but the infectious disease remains a threat.
The use of an antimicrobial solution can help reduce the risk of getting infected from high-touch surfaces on public transport vehicles contaminated with pathogens like bacteria and viruses. jMedGuard® Foami Foami™ Long-Lasting Advanced Hand Sanitiser produces an antimicrobial foam that kills germs at application and continues to protect your hands persistently throughout the day. Use this to sanitise your hands once in the morning and be protected the whole day. Have peace of mind on the go. With a water-based formulation, jMedGuard Foami Foami is non-toxic, non-corrosive, gentle to skin and safe to the environment. It is suitable for infants, pregnant women and elderlies!
Get yourself protected from getting sick.