Risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk.
Certain medical conditions can also increase risk for severe illness.
People at increased risk, and those who live or visit with them, need to take precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
Age Increases Risk for Severe Illness
The risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk.
For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older.
Severe illness means that a person with COVID-19 may require:
- intensive care, or a
- ventilator to help them breathe, or
- they may even die.
Steps to Reduce Your Risk
It is especially important for people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and those who live or visit with them, to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
The best way to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is to:
- Wear a mask, when you interact with others.
- 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.
- Learn additional information for adults with disabilities.
- How to Protect Yourself
If you start feeling sick and think you may have COVID-19, get in touch with your healthcare provider within 24 hours.