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Coronavirus and COVID-19

Guidance for high-risk groups

Some people living with long-term lung conditions are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. Find out what to do if you’re at higher risk, and how to stay safe.

On this page:

How do I know if I’m high risk?

Some people with a long-term lung condition are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and are more likely to be admitted to hospital. This includes people with: 

Immunosuppressive drugs 

People on immunosuppressive drugs (drugs that make your immune system weaker) are also at higher risk of COVID-19. This includes:

  • Long-term Prednisolone
  • Methotrexate
  • Azathioprine
  • Mycophenolate Mofetil and Mycophenolate Sodium
  • Cyclosporin
  • Sirolimus
  • Tacrolimus
  • Having received intravenous Cyclophosphamide, Rituximab or Infliximab in the last six months

Other high-risk criteria 

The groups listed on this page cover the lung conditions and immunosuppressive drugs that can make you at higher risk to COVID-19. If your condition is not included or you are not sure, we have listed other factors that may put you at higher risk: 

  • you need to use oxygen at home
  • you use non-invasive ventilation
  • you have to stop walking after 100m or so because of breathlessness, even at your own pace
  • you have had to be admitted to hospital in the last year because of a flare-up of your lung condition.

If you’re concerned about getting coronavirus and don’t know if you are at higher risk, speak to your GP or specialist doctor

 

How can I stay safe?

 

If you are at higher risk from serious illness from coronavirus you might be feeling anxious about getting back to normal and wondering how you can keep yourself safe:

  • Talk to your GP or specialist about any extra precautions you need to take, particularly if you have a weaker immune system.
  • Work from home if you can. 
  • Make sure you’ve had your coronavirus vaccines and boosters.
  • Wear a face mask if you can in crowded, indoor spaces. 
  • Continue to social distance where possible – find out about Distance Aware badges and lanyards.
  • Take a test if you have coronavirus symptoms as soon as possible. Free lateral flow testing is still available to those at high-risk from coronavirus. This is so you can be assessed for coronavirus treatments if you’re eligible. 
  • We have lots of advice to help you keep safe whether that’s going to work, socialising with friends and family, or looking after your mental health.
  • Get your annual flu vaccine.
  • Speak to our friendly helpline team on 0300 222 5800 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

The NHS also has some useful advice if you’re feeling worried about getting back to normal.

Treatment for coronavirus

There are coronavirus treatments available to those most at risk of serious illness from coronavirus. The NHS will confirm if you are eligible for these treatments. 

You can read more about coronavirus treatments and who may be eligible on the NHS website.

Last updated: Friday 1 April 2022

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

Last medically reviewed: May 2022. Due for review: May 2022

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.