Increased Risk of Severe Illness from COVID-19
Older adults are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Getting very sick means that older adults with COVID-19 might need hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they might even die. The risk increases for people in their 50s and increases in 60s, 70s, and 80s. People 85 and older are the most likely to get very sick.
Other factors can also make you more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19, such as having certain underlying medical conditions. If you have an underlying medical condition, you should continue to follow your treatment plan, unless advised differently by your health care provider.
Protect Yourself & Others from Getting COVID-19
Older adults, and those who live with, visit or provide care for them need, to take steps to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
- Get vaccinated as soon as possible.
- COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing COVID-19 and are recommended for everyone 12 years of age and older.
- If you are fully vaccinated you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
- Limit your in-person interactions with other people as much as possible, particularly when indoors.
- Keep space between yourself and others (stay 6 feet away, which is about 2 arm lengths).
- Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Then wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and things you touch often.
The more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the more likely you are to get or spread the virus that causes COVID-19.