The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has spread at an alarming pace, infecting more than 1,000,000 people globally, claiming more than 50,000 lives. And amidst all the preventive measures being followed, it is important to take extra effort to safeguard immunocompromised patients. Also Read: Coronavirus: Effective Ways To Prevent The Transmission Of This Deadly Virus
A person who is immunocompromised or immunosuppressed is one whose immune defenses are weakened and not functioning normally, such as when affected by cancer, HIV, asthma, extreme malnutrition and certain genetic disorders.
The body’s immune system is comprised of unique cells that destroy invaders in the body and protect against the common cold, bacteria, viruses, even cancer. When the defenses are lowered, an individual becomes highly vulnerable to obtaining any common, seasonal or even severe infection. Also Read: Infectious Diseases: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Reasons Why Immunocompromised Patients Are Prone To Procuring COVID-19:
Malfunctioning Of Immune Cells
People suffering from chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and asthma tend to have a weakened defense mechanism, due to constant irregularities in metabolism, blood sugar, blood pressure and breathing, apart from taking high dose of medications regularly. This, in turn, suppresses the body’s ability to activate its immune defenses by destroying immune cells’ ability to combat foreign invading substances and harmful germs attacking the body.
Lack Of Prompt Immune Response
A person with compromised immunity is more at risk for infection because their immune system may not display the usual obvious reactions to bacteria or virus, such as a fever or swelling. This leads to infections being missed early on and allow them to become more severe in the body before seeking help from a doctor.
Vaccines Do Not Work Effectively
Immunocompromised patients also lack the ability to respond appropriately to vaccination. That may mean they don't develop immunity, and they mistakenly assume they are protected against an illness when they are not. As a result, infections progress more rapidly from a mild virus into sepsis, a widespread infection leading to malfunction and eventual failure of the body’s vital organs, like lungs, brain, heart or kidneys.
Tips For Immunocompromised Individuals To Stay Safe:
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
To the extent possible, avoid touching high-contact surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
Clean and disinfect the home where diseased are staying, to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, like tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, mobile phones.
Practice complete home quarantine. Avoid stepping out of the home, any crowds in the community and all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially steer clear of cruise ships.
Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)