CHICAGO, IL | January 11, 2023
“Most importantly, everyone six months of age and older should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines are the best step to prevent severe illness and hospitalization,” said Albert Rizzo, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association. “However, no vaccine is 100% effective, so there are steps you should take if you are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 and begin experiencing symptoms.”
Through a new comprehensive awareness campaign, the American Lung Association, with support from Pfizer, aims to educate the public on three critical things to know about COVID-19.
1. Know if you are High Risk for Severe Illness: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from March 1, 2020 – August 31, 2022, 44% of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 had chronic lung disease*. Many individuals, are at high risk for severe illness if they get sick with COVID-19 including people aged 50 and older, people with chronic lung disease (including asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis or pulmonary hypertension), those who smoke, and adults with certain medical conditions, including those who are overweight, pregnant, immunocompromised, and those with heart disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease
2. If you Don’t Feel Well, Test Right Away: If you experience symptoms that could be COVID-19, it is important to test immediately.
“Winter is also the season for many viruses that have similar symptoms, so it is especially important to get tested to find out which virus you have. This will help your healthcare provider determine the best treatment for you,“ said Dr. Rizzo.
3. Know the Available Treatment Options: If you test positive for COVID-19 and are high risk, speak with your healthcare provider promptly about available treatment options and don’t forget to follow public health guidance to help prevent spread. Treatment options for high-risk individuals who test positive for COVID-19 help prevent severe illness and reduce the risk of hospitalization. Depending on your situation, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antiviral treatment to stop the virus from multiplying within your body. These medications should be taken as soon as possible after diagnosis -- oral antivirals no later than five days and IV infusion no later than seven days after symptom onset.For more information about treatment options for COVID-19, visit Lung.org/Treating-Covid.
*COVID-NET: COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Hospitalizations (cdc.gov). Accessed on 12/8/22.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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