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:
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:
- cystic fibrosis
- severe asthma
- lung cancer or mesothelioma who are having active chemotherapy or radiotherapy (this may make your immune system weaker)
- severe bronchiectasis
- interstitial lung disease, including pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis
- pulmonary hypertension
- a recent lung transplant (this may make your immune system weaker).
People on immunosuppressive drugs (drugs that make your immune system weaker) are also at higher risk of COVID-19. This includes:
- Long-term Prednisolone
- Mycophenolate Mofetil and Mycophenolate Sodium
- 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.
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 available for specific people. Find out if you’re eligible for free lateral flow testing.
- 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.
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 22 July 2022